brain stimulation

Brain Stimulation for Treating Aphasia

A study looking at combining brain stimulation with speech therapy to treat aphasia is moving toward a larger clinical trial. Last year, we told you about NAA Board Member Dr. Peter Turkletaub’s study of personalized brain stimulation. This new study, conducted by doctors from the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina, will also use Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to treat aphasia.

New Research

The initial findings are exciting:

“At 6 months following treatment completion, the response to the aphasia treatment was more than doubled for the patients who received electrical stimulation compared to those who received the placebo stimulation,” said Fridriksson. “If this effect is supported by future research, it could mean a major change in how rehabilitation of stroke is administered.”

By combining mild electrical brain stimulation through electrodes with speech therapy, researchers were able to increase the success of speech therapy alone. This new study closely mirrors the study conducted by researchers out of Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina last year.

What’s Next

This recent study was interesting because it looked at failure rather than success:

The researchers at USC and MUSC questioned whether tDCS could boost scores on naming exercises in stroke patients with long-term aphasia. They used a unique method to test their idea. Instead of looking for proof that the new treatment was effective, they looked for any evidence that it was not effective.

Doing so allowed doctors to consider all evidence found through the study. These initial results, conducted with 74 subjects, opens the door for a much larger study that is currently in the planning and designing stage.

We’ll let you know if we hear anything in the future about study recruitment.



  • Janet Wellspring
    September 13, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Does this research include Primary Progressive Aphasia?

  • Ray Linnenbringer
    September 13, 2018 at 9:07 am

    My wife just passed away with primary Progressive Aphasia of speech. I hope this is a new Direction and possible help for others.

    She did donate her brain to Mayo of Rochester so that further study could be made for this disease. I urge others to donate so that the younger generation will never have to go through this horrible disease.

  • Becky Reese
    September 13, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    How do you become part of the study? My husband is 59 years old . He is in excellent health.
    He had his stroke in March 2018. He has Aphasia and is working very hard in speech therapy.
    We live in Florida on the west coast ( Sarasota). I am interested in any information.

    We are attending the Bridge conference in St. Pete Fl in October and looking forward to learning more.

  • Bea Lilly
    September 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    My daughter will be four years out from her severe traumatic brain injury, she has aphasia and apraxia. I was looking into electromagnetic stimulation, but this might be good for her. I am very interested in receiving more information on the procedure.

    Thank you, Bea Lilly

  • Paula Powell Ryan
    September 15, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Five years ago I had a stroke. I have affection I speak English and Spanish but in English I can not speak, I can understand. Spanish I can speak a little.
    I was looking into electromagnetic stimulation. I am very interested in receiving more information on the procedure.
    Thank you,

  • Raymond Espedido
    September 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Is this similar to trans-cranial magnetic stimulation

  • Jeffrey Fisher
    September 19, 2018 at 9:12 am

    I would love to more about this … it does sound interesting!

  • Bob Crowley
    September 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Please keep me advised on this research. My wife will be 64 next month and diagnosed with Aphasia in January. I cannot believe how devastating and quick this disorder is She did not have a stroke and we have no idea what caused it. Any insight in helping her is greatly appreciated.

  • Vicki Wright
    September 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    I would love to learn more about this therapy. My husband suffered a stroke in December 2017 and has aphasia and apraxia.

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