Transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with speech and language training in early aphasia rehabilitation: a randomized double-blind controlled pilot study.

Topics in stroke rehabilitation

PubMedID: 23841973

Seniów J, Waldowski K, Lesniak M, Iwanski S, Czepiel W, Czlonkowska A. Transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with speech and language training in early aphasia rehabilitation: a randomized double-blind controlled pilot study. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2013;20(3):250-61.
BACKGROUND
Functional neuroimaging studies with poststroke aphasia patients have shown increased activation of the unaffected hemisphere, which hypothetically reflects a maladaptive strategy of brain reorganization.Objective: We investigated whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) inhibiting the right-hemisphere homologue of Broca's area improves language restitution if combined with speech/language therapy.

METHODS
Forty aphasic patients during the subacute phase of ischemic stroke were randomized to a 3-week aphasia rehabilitation protocol in combination with real or sham rTMS. Naming, repetition, and comprehension were assessed using the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination at baseline, immediately after therapy, and 15 weeks after completing treatment.

RESULTS
Although language functions improved in both experimental and control groups after 3 weeks, only slight group differences in degree of recovery were revealed between patients receiving rTMS and control participants. Follow-up revealed that severely aphasic rTMS patients demonstrated significantly greater improvement than patients receiving sham stimulation in repetition.

CONCLUSIONS
Inhibitory rTMS applied to the right frontal language homologue is not effective for all poststroke aphasia patients, although it might benefit selected patients.