Our original pitch was targeting bilingual aphasia. How is it different from monolingual aphasia? How does it differ in treatment? We originally had ideas concerning linguistic differences, the different levels of severity of bilingual aphasia, and how the timing of language acquisition would influence bilingual aphasia.

Feedback from our classmates was mostly encouraging our focus on the linguistic differences between the languages of a bilingual and how that might affect bilingual aphasia. Some people were encouraging us to study both children and adults so we can compare both age groups. The feedback made us rethink our question by narrowing it down. Our new question is: how do we use linguistic similarities/differences across L1s to treat bilingual aphasia?

The focus on L1s control for the possibility that time or time subjects obtain languages. Similarly, the focus on linguistic similarities/differences may also serve a control for other factors that may affect bilingual aphasia.

Previous to the solutions, we want to first conduct research and studies relating to the effect of linguistic similarities/differences on aphasia for bilinguals that are L1s. Once we find the correlation, we can implement the findings into our rapid valuations and potential solutions. Within our research, we might potentially encounter other correlations that we may not have hypothesized before. We can then make adjustments in accordance.

The following ideas came from our brainstorming session:

  1. Speech therapy: building on current existing treatments.
We decided not to pursue speech therapy avenues because it doesn’t tackle bilingual aphasia specifically. It deals with the mechanics of speech production but we didn’t feel this was a revolutionary idea that would differentiate our group from another studying monolingual aphasia.

2. An anatomical solution: can we bypass the damaged area of the brain?

We decided not to take on bypassing the damaged portion of the brain because we are unsure how this would impact other brain areas. We know that brain areas don’t enjoy doing nothing, and so we did not find it beneficial to try and ignore a brain area by going around it, even if it was damaged.

3. Music therapy: Choose music with similar linguistic characteristics as language lost

This is very similar to the melodic intonation therapy we were looking to use in our big question pitch. The problem with this was that, similarly to speech therapy, we found it to be a mechanical solution rather than one specifically involved in the brain.

4. Music therapy (v2): Alter music to fit/activate parts of the brain usually activated by L1

This therapy would involve previous studies on where the L1 may be located in the brain and where it may activate. This would most likely be specific to each patient and since most patients would be coming to us already suffering from aphasia, we would not be able to do this to the extent that we want to.

5. Bilingual aphasia through emotional trauma rather than physical

This is merely just an idea, we do not really have background information for this yet, but we will keep this in mind.

6. Inserting a liquid in the damaged area of the brain so that it becomes a “liquid bandaid”, covering and protecting it and helping the area regenerate itself.

This solution is extensively invasive for the subject, and long-term. It involves coming up with the molecular biology involved in regeneration which we do not have a background in. It also does not necessarily involve linguistic differences/similarities across L1s in bilingual aphasia like we would like it to.

Our two preferable ideas that we want to push forward are: the pacemaker for the brain, and frequency for specific bilingual neurons.

  1. Using a specific music frequency to target specific “bilingual” neurons
We know that neurons have preferred activation directions and frequencies.Using this, we would have headphones with a specific frequency to help recover L1s by targeting the neurons that respond to this frequency. Then, slowly unassociate the frequency with tasks so brain recovers L1 on its own.
Our Concerns: this involves careful planning of the neuronal frequencies and specifications with each neuron. There are also studies showing that specific neurons, like the “Halle Berry” neuron may not exist, therefore targeting neurons this way may not get us the result we desire. How can we initiate the chain reaction of neurons necessary to reach our target “language” neurons? How do we make music match the frequency and make it enjoyable?

2. Brain type pacemaker: Physically rebooting that area:

How can we regulate brain activity?  Using similar ideas from heart pacemakers, how can we incorporate that into regulating brain activity in the area of the brain damaged and causing bilingual aphasia?
Our Concerns: invasive and expensive. How do we make it accessible to the general public and small enough? How do we get it to the spot we want without it being as invasive or detrimental/high-risk as it could be?