New Therapeutic Frontiers in Language and Communication Restoration by Harry Schneider, MD

On August 16, 2009, 1:56 pm

After years of using neuromodulation, specifically electrical or magnetic stimulation to restore language function in diverse populations such as stroke victims, traumatic brain injury patients, people with Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease, practitioners at Columbia decided that we could help "nonverbal" children on the spectrum, as well. Because the other populations of patients we treated all began with neurotypical brains, we had to see find a way to see how "an autistic brain" was functioning for language; this could not be seen on a structural or regular MRI. We decided to use functional MRI for these children. While listening to recordings of their mothers' and fathers' voices, as well as music, we imaged known language areas and then applied diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to show us how these area were connected to each other. We discovered that many language areas did not work for language (some were activated for music, not language) and that the connections between them were defective. However, we now had a "road map," an image of their brains that we could use to determine which areas might benefit from stimulation. I decided to pilot the project from my office in Long Island, NY, using transcranial direct current stimulation. This is a non-invasive, minimal risk procedure using very low-dose electrical currents applied to language areas while the children are receiving specialized language instruction. All patients are beginning to regain language.

Harry Schneider, MD received his medical degree from Columbia University and completed his residency at Northwestern University. Dr. Schneider is an Associate Research Scientist in the Functional MRI Research Center of Columbia University. He is in private practice at the Center for Medical and Brain Sciences in Plainview, NY, and uses both conventional medicine and the Defeat Autism Now! approach in his approach to the medical care of children on the spectrum. Dr. Harry Schneider served on the medical staff of North Shore University's Franklin General Hospital and South Nassau Communities Hospital, as well as serving as an Adjunct Professor for Clinical Training in the Family Practice Training Program at SNCH. He has participated in Tropical Medicine Research in Guatemala and Brazil for the World Health Organization and received research support as a Medical/Linguistic Consultant for Transcendent International's bilingual medical software. Dr. Schneider's background is as a linguist, with advanced degrees in language and linguistics, and he speaks multiple languages. He is in the process of obtaining a doctoral degree in Speech Language Pathology.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)