brain stimulation

New Clinical Trial Uses Magnetic Brain Stimulation to Treat Aphasia

There’s an exciting new clinical trial beginning in January 2019 that is currently seeking participants. The study will look to see whether combining speech therapy with brain stimulation can improve language outcomes in persons with aphasia due to stroke.

The Grant

Doctors Branch Coslett and Roy Hamilton from The Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation (LCNS) at the University of Pennsylvania have been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD)* to pursue a 5-year Phase 2 clinical trial testing whether TMS combined with speech therapy is an effective treatment for persons with chronic aphasia.

The Study

Participants accepted into the study in Pennsylvania will receive TMS combined with speech therapy Monday through Friday for two weeks. Researchers will then follow-up with each participant three and six months later in order to assess their language abilities. This is a randomized controlled clinical trial, which means that although everyone will receive speech therapy, some participants will receive brain stimulation and others will not. Neither the participants nor the researchers will know which group they are in until the study is over.

About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is a non-invasive brain stimulation approach that does not require needles, sedation, or surgery. Stimulation with TMS involves using an electromagnet placed over the scalp to generate current in a small region of the brain (about 1 cm x 1 cm) immediately underneath. This allows for portions of the brain to activate, meaning that brain cells in the affected area fire. TMS has been approved by the FDA to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and migraine headaches.

Want to Join the Study?

Specific questions should be directed at the creators of the study. The NAA does not have additional information.

This study is looking for adults with aphasia due to a stroke that occurred more than 6 months ago. They are currently beginning their recruitment process so the study can begin in January 2019. Interested persons should contact Jonathan Magill, Study Coordinator at
[email protected] or 215‐573‐4336.

Want more information about LCNS research? Go to their site or follow them on Twitter.

*Study supported by NIDCD/NIH Grant: 1Ro1 DC16800-A1



  • denise
    November 30, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    I experienced a stroke back in August 2016. Dr. Hamilton and staff are outstanding and highly recommend. Reach out to Jonathan and check out this program. Super Gratitude Denise Baron

  • Danese White
    December 1, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Very interested. Stroke-Left frontal-2012. Speech, writing,and right sided weakness. Mostly subsided. Words don’t always come out even though I am aware of what I want to say. When tired my writing is very poor-from a very legible writing.

  • Caryl Hodgdon
    December 1, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Read about this the other day and now here it is again! Our neurologist is currently seeking trials for us. We are so pleased to see some research being done for this condition. We would love to participate but whether we can or cannot we wish you much success in you endeavor. Thank you so much!

  • carol batten
    December 12, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Carol Batten

    My Aphasia was not a stroke but many words lost now. Would this make my brain better with words?

  • Diana
    December 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    My husband was diagnosed with PPA earlier in the year. He is 54 yrs. old. He has tried speech therapy but it doesn’t seem to be helping him. This looks like something that has great promise!! I hope it becomes available in our area!

  • Mary O'Gorman
    December 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    my sister (76 y/o) suffered a hemorrhagic L parietal stroke in Aug 2018 while visiting her daughter in Germany. Her health prior to this was always very good and she remains physically fit. She returned home about 3 wks later and was admitted after a few days to Burke Institute, Westchester, NY. They were fantastic and she is doing very well with her physical recovery out patient. She does have anopia and we are hoping for recovery over time. She is going to start vision therapy in the meantime. Her main frustration is language. Knows what she wants to say in her head but does not verbalize it correctly. She is an very intelligent woman and played a very active role in community activities/organizations. She is continuing with her speech therapy. I had read about Brain Stimulation early on in her stroke and was trying to find someplace in the NYC area where clinical trials, treatments, etc. were being done but was not successful. Can you provide me with any info.

  • Sheila King
    December 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    I had my stroke almost 40 years ago, is it too late?

  • Glynis Fenn
    December 12, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Hello! My name is Glynis Fenn, & my husband suffered a severe TBI on July 8, 2010. He has aphasia & has undergone hours of speech therapy. It’s better than it was, but I’m wondering if there are any other clinical trials in Michigan that are similar to yours? We can’t afford to commute to Pennsylvania. Any information on any clinical trials for aphasia in Michigan would be appreciated.

    The work you’re doing sounds amazing!

  • Maria Trinidad
    December 13, 2018 at 10:25 am

    My 67 yrs old brother suffered from a subarachnoid hemorrhage 2yrs ago. He was diagnosed with aphasia and have very limited available therapy and his communication has not progressed since his diagnosis a year ago. We live in Vancouver BC.
    Please keep him in your list in case he qualifies.
    Sincere thanks for all you do.

  • Ronald W. Violette
    December 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I have been in 2 studies at the USC. I would like to have more information at study at Penn State!


  • Susan
    December 15, 2018 at 2:58 am

    My brother has Severe Wernikes Aphasia he is 2yrs post and 55 yo. Can only say 6 automatic words, can not write, type, or read over 2 sentences that has to be very easy words and sometimes even shortened from 2 sentences. I have to speak to him at a snails pace one word at a time due to sever comprehension. The cheraides has been a night mare for both of us. I am his full time care partner and voice. Very very limited speech therapy. Please add us to your list for any research.

  • Lynda Walker
    December 16, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I am doing a balancing act I feel. I had an acute ischemic stroke little over 3 years ago, I sometimes use the wrong words and I search sometimes for the right words. writing numbers down or finishing my thoughts on paper or while talking is a rough task sometimes to say the least. I noticed and it has been confirmed by family members it is now 3 years later more pronounced. I always explain when someone wants information from me, or gives me numbers to write down- I had a stroke. At first this was a very uncomfortable statement for me to make. As time went on before I begin anything with anyone I simply say please be patient I’ve had a stroke. I have been very Blessed that people will be patient with me, or repeat numbers so I can correct them. We have to live in this world to and communicate the best we can. God Bless Y’all

  • Harold Wohl
    April 22, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Some 5 years ago my was was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus and had a shunt placed on the right side of her head. This was after falling more then a few times in Florida after we retired. The “plug” taken from her head was diagnosed as Alzheimer’s but I’ve never believed that as her condition seemed different then that. Her current internist also feels that, although she might have Alzheimer’s it is more likely that she has some other form of dementia such as FTD (which was, and still might be my feeling) and she has “progressed” over these years to a point where she has some form of aphasia and, now, cannot speak at all. Her internist (who, by the way has a mother with dementia) thinks it could be PPA although other forms of aphasia also seem possible. We are in Connecticut and I wonder, at this point in my wife’s travails, whether or not your Magnetic Brain stimulation might be beneficial to her. I might add that a stroke has never been mentioned as a possible cause of her aphasia and she has had more then a few brain type “scans” which might have detected such a stroke. However, frequently, I see her when she has her left hand up to the left side of her head and wonder about whether she might have had a stroke sometime when she fell. At this time she is in a transporter chair as she is unable to walk on her own and cannot easily use her arms, legs or feet. Again, I wonder about the availability of the Magnetic Brain stimulation and whether she might be a candidate for the study. Thank you.

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