Wounded U.S. Rep. Giffords speaking again - media

HOUSTON Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:40am IST

A spectator holds a campaign sign as he waits for the medial ambulance transporting U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to leave the University Medical Center en-route to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona January 21, 2011. REUTERS/Samantha Sais/Files

A spectator holds a campaign sign as he waits for the medial ambulance transporting U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to leave the University Medical Center en-route to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona January 21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Samantha Sais/Files

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords has begun to regain her speech a month after being shot in the head in an assassination attempt, and has even requested toast for breakfast, her spokesman said on Wednesday.

"She is speaking more and more with each passing day, most recently asking for toast," said spokesman C.J. Karamargin. "The congresswoman is working very hard and clearly it's paying off."

Giffords' accomplishment is the latest milestone in a recovery her doctors have called miraculous.

The Arizona lawmaker was shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 8. Six people, including a federal judge, were killed and 12 others were wounded in the attack. Jared Loughner has been accused in the shootings.

Giffords, 40, has been recovering at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where "she is undergoing a rigorous therapy program," Karamargin said.

"They are working with her on all kinds of language and speech exercises," Karamargin said.

Giffords -- known to friends and relatives as "Gabby" -- is eating three meals a day, her husband said.

"Gabby's appetite is back and -- even though it's hospital food -- she's enjoying three meals a day," NASA astronaut Mark Kelly said in a Facebook posting on Tuesday.

Kelly, a three-time space shuttle veteran, will command the shuttle Endeavour when it launches in April, NASA said last week.

"The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury, but they aren't kidding when they say this is a marathon process," Kelly said.

Doctors say Giffords' full recovery could take months.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Johns Pool; Editing by Xavier Briand and Todd Eastham)

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