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.

We present all the information that we have on-hand whenever we report about new research.  All additional questions need to be directed to the researchers.



  • 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.

  • Debra Schneider
    September 26, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Anyone who would like to hear more about this is more than welcome to contact me. While it might not be for everyone, at least I would be happy to explain much more about tDCS. We have been doing this in our office for 15+ years (as well my husband has done much research & is getting ready to publish a paper & has published other papers including one with children with autism using tDCS). We have 2 offices in the States & we travel teaching, lecturing & working with families.
    We are listed on this site, as well our website is:, although it is being updated so please be patient.

  • Janet Gutierrez
    September 30, 2018 at 6:48 am

    I’m interested in seeing if my husband could participate in this. He suffered a TBI due to being assaulted and shot twice in the head in November 2017. He has aphasia and apraxia, he’s Spanish speaking normally. He lost all speech but had regained 2 words so far .


  • Victor Hernandez
    September 30, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    How do you become part of the study? My wife is 59 years old and she had a stroke in June 2016. She has Aphasia and has been working very hard in speech therapy for the past two years. Even though she has had a lot of progress, she is not totally recovered, I am interested in any information and participation of future studies.

  • Lori Strobl
    October 10, 2018 at 8:04 am

    I am interested in learning more about this to assist my father! Thanks for the initial info!

  • Amy Gunn
    October 10, 2018 at 8:30 am

    My husband had a hemorrhagic stroke in 2011, age 43. Although his speech was not affected, he does have non-use of his left side and homonymous hemianopsia, f
    ield-neglect left side of each eye. Do you know if any deep brain stimulation is being used to help this population of stroke? I pray it is helping or will be a future treatment for those affected with aphasia. Thank you!

  • Debbie E
    October 10, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Would be very interested in any trials in Southern California. My brother (age 52) suffered a stroke two years ago and has Aphasia. Speech Therapy alone yielded very limited results.

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2018 at 10:36 am

    This sounds promising and I’d like to get more information about how to qualify for this trial. My 29 year old daughter had an AVM hemorrhage stroke in May 2016. Followed by two strokes caused by vasospasms and she has receptive and expressive aphasia. She works very hard in Speech Therapy and has progressively improved but it’s slow going. She is physically very healthy and this trial sounds like the perfect option to help her gain some momentum with her speech. Thank you for sharing this information. Much appreciated.

  • Lorraine Heitchue
    October 10, 2018 at 11:10 am

    My husband has expressive aphasia an apraxia from a stroke he had December 23, 2013. He is in excellent health and it would be amazing if he could participate in this research. We live in the San Francisco area.

  • Julie
    October 10, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    This is fascinating. I was treated with TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) for approximately 2 months straight (almost daily). I had profound Season Affective Disorder, PTSD, and anxiety. It was last Fall when I received this therapy. I, also, have Fibromyalgia and a host of other problems. Most people with FM struggle to ‘get their words’ out though can usually do okay with writing. My cognitive ability has really improved verbally. This treatment sounds similar. I was given a new lease on life. So grateful!

  • Carole W. Kohler
    October 10, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I am interested in knowing if these people’s questions will be answered (those posted here) I am interested in the answers also.

  • Heather Tomlinson
    October 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    This is very encouraging research. Similar research is being conducted here in Alberta, Canada, at the University of Alberta. Hopefully this will result in more treatment options, and better outcomes for our clients with Aphasia.

  • Elizabeth Hanson
    October 10, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    This study sounds very exciting!
    I wonder if it would help my husband who is 5 years post stroke. He has global aphasia and is unable to read or write Communication is a huge problem.
    We would be interested in any more studies or indeed if it were possible that my husband could participate.
    Thanks very much for the information

  • Robert Zimardo
    October 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    4 years ago, I had a TBI, bike accident. I had Aphasia and Apraxia. The Aphasia is getting better but the Apraxia is very hard.
    I can say many words but long syabbles are hard.

  • Shannon
    October 10, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I am the primary caregiver to my mother who was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia. I would be very interested in having her become part of this study of you are interested in test patients. Thank you.

  • Glynis Fenn
    October 10, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Will this study accept those with traumatic brain injuries? My husband suffered a severe TBI on July 8, 2010. While his aphasia has improved, his speech is still a struggle for him.

  • Linda T
    October 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    My husband had a stroke 4 years ago and has aphasia. His speech improved a little from the stroke. He can’t read and can only write his name. Would this help him?

  • Joel Coleman
    October 12, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I was a participant in the study… I don’t know if I got the treatment or I was the controlled. I’m think helped anyway you slicing to have the opportunity to work on your facilities. Coming from not able to communicate effectively for 5 months and now be able to have dialogue again. Everything helps …. Mindset ,work ,repitition ….. And HOPE !!!!!

  • Anonymous
    October 13, 2018 at 3:26 pm



  • Ronald Allen
    October 16, 2018 at 9:33 am

    My sister, age 53 has been diagnosed with aphasia about 4 months ago, no medical history causation (stoke/accident, etc), she is reaching out for any possible help to slow down speech lost, etc. She lives in Rhode Island and would like be available ASAP to participate in trial treatment.

  • Manuela Buchholz
    October 17, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    My son, was 28 years old in 2008 when he suffered from VIRAL ENCEPHALITIS that destroyed the left part of his brain, it was a miracle he survived after a lot of seizures, his brain was so swallowed that the doctors has to open a window in his scalp to let the brain space for his expansion, he was 40 days unconscious. Finally he was recovering but with a speech problem, he understand almost everything but when he try to bring his thoughts out he gets in problem because he cannot get out what he is thinking.

    As a mother you can image how much I have suffered seeing my son now 39 years old and not be able to communicate what he think o feel, also, not been able to work, he is bi-lingual and has a college degree but he forgot all what it was storage in his left side of his brain, he began learning everything like a baby, he did not recognize even his little daughter neither one of his family, he had to learn to walk, to eat, to drink,etc., but thank to God little by little he learned to recognize people and do his personal things.

    My question is: Could it be possible this wonderful treatment help him without taking him back to the seizures which he kept taking medication since then? This would be the most precious gift for my son and me.

  • Richard A Roper
    October 17, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Is this device effective with patients diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia?

  • Polly Milliman
    October 25, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    I’m diagnosed ppa. No electric brain stimulator?

  • Tracey L Ginger
    November 4, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Is this study for anyone with PPA including FLTD without causality? My wife just turned 58, was diagnosed with PPA and an extremely rare case as it also crosses over into front temporal left lobe. No cause, no traumatic brain injury, no stroke, nothing but gradual onset. She is currently involved in a study for research only at Mayo Rochester headed by Dr Keith Josephs. This stimulation study was not discussed. Is it only for those that are in recovery mode?

    Thanks you,
    Tracey Ginger

    Papillion, Nebraska

  • carl wilhelm
    March 21, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    like many of the individuals above, i am the caregiver for my wife(86yo) who was diagnosed with ppa in 2016 and has progressed to being unable to read or write compounded by extreme memory issues such as not recalling what she did, said, heard, etc. for even ten minutes most of the time…she is physically active but can hardly string two or three words together at one time, then freezes up because she cannot say the word she needs…i am not the best at mind reading nor charades, so we both become frustrated and yet i know she can’t remember and it’s not her fault nor mine, but we want more…we moved a year ago into a ccrc but there seems to be no support group for her(or me) although we have good medical insurance and memory care availability–this care is limited to alzheimer disease, which is not ppa though ppa can become more memory loss than loss of communication…my fear is that ppa pro-gresses for only 5 to 7 years before the patient’s life ends(on average)…help needs to be found soon for those already diagnosed…
    meaning i hope responses to these letters are quick…patients need to have hope while facing “progression”!!!

  • Gwen Sipe
    April 12, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Our son, Todd Sipe, suffered an ischemic stroke 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 47. He had no health problems beforehand. His left corotid artery tore inside. The stroke has left him with severe aphasia and some neglect of the right side of his body. We are searching for any and all treatments/trials that could help his recovery. He has an appointment to try stem cell treatment on April 30, but we want the very best treatment for him. (We are not completely comfortable with this appointment.). If he could realize improvement in being able to speak, he would be a viable, self-sufficient individual to.

  • Harold Wohl
    July 30, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    What is the current status of this treatment? My wife has the following history: 1. Hydrocephalus- treated by implant of shunt into right side of head; 2. “plug” diagnosed as Alzheimer’s although I’ve never believed that was what she had as her symptoms did not match all those of Alzheimer’s. 3. I have always believed that she had FTD, another form of dementia, but for the last 1.5-2 years she has become subject to aphasia with a diagnosis of Primary Progressive aphasia and she cannot speak (at, now, 74 years of age). She has now had all these conditions since about 2012 coming forward to the present time. She seems to understand most everything said to her but cannot relay a response except for an occasional eye blink. There are also some other problems with continence. Is this treatment “too late” for her as I am thinking of taking her to Burke Rehabilitation in White Plains if they will accept her as a patient given where she is now and how far she has come?

  • Sandra
    November 6, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I have been diagnosed with PPA…so far I have been ok..but very tired! And “ jittery “ inside when I have a conversation with this common?

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