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Stroke. 2011 Mar;42(3):819-21. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.600288. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

Transcranial direct current stimulation improves naming reaction time in fluent aphasia: a double-blind, sham-controlled study.

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  • 1Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of South Carolina, 915 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29201, USA.



Previous evidence suggests that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (A-tDCS) applied to the left hemisphere can improve aphasic participants' ability to name common objects. The current study further examined this issue in a more tightly controlled experiment in participants with fluent aphasia.


We examined the effect of A-tDCS on reaction time during overt picture naming in 8 chronic stroke participants. Anode electrode placement targeted perilesional brain regions that showed the greatest activation on a pretreatment functional MRI scan administered during overt picture naming with the reference cathode electrode placed on the contralateral forehead. A-tDCS (1 mA; 20-minute) was compared with sham tDCS (S-tDCS) in a crossover design. Participants received 10 sessions of computerized anomia treatment; 5 sessions included A-tDCS and 5 included S-tDCS.


Coupling A-tDCS with behavioral language treatment reduced reaction time during naming of trained items immediately posttreatment (Z=1.96, P=0.025) and at subsequent testing 3 weeks later (Z=2.52, P=0.006).


A-tDCS administered during language treatment decreased processing time during picture naming by fluent aphasic participants. Additional studies combining A-tDCS, an inexpensive method with no reported serious side effects, with behavioral language therapy are recommended.

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