Fellow: Mrs Magharet Smith
Stroke is the most frequent cause of aphasia, a condition which affects someone’s ability to speak or understand what others say. About a third of patients have aphasia immediately after stroke, and for a fifth of all stroke survivors, aphasia persists for many years as a chronic consequence of brain injury.
A common symptom of aphasia for many stroke survivors is anomia, or word finding difficulties. Treatment with speech & language (SL) therapy can be effective, but is resource intensive.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe, non-invasive technique which holds potential for improving anomia, as a cost-effective complement to speech and language therapy.
tDCS involves placing electrodes on the scalp and passing a very small electrical current between them, through the brain. The effect on the brain is dependent on the position of the electrodes on the scalp and direction of electric current used.
In this study, the researchers are searching for the conditions of tDCS which offer the maximum improvement in anomia. 12 stroke survivors will take part and will be trained and tested using picture naming tasks. All participants will complete two runs of three four-week therapy cycles over the course of six months.
If successful, the results could inform how tDCS could be incorporated into the most beneficial program of therapy for individual patients.
1 October 2013