Original research| Volume 96, ISSUE 11, P1935-1944.e2, November 2015

Add-on Effects of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Subacute Aphasia Therapy: Enhanced Improvement of Functional Communication and Basic Linguistic Skills. A Randomized Controlled Study



      To determine to what extent repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) combined with speech and language therapy improves functional communication and basic linguistic skills of individuals with subacute aphasia.


      Randomized, blinded, and sham-controlled study.


      Neurologic rehabilitation hospital.


      Participants (N=30) with subacute aphasia after stroke.


      During a 2-week treatment period, half of the participants received 10 sessions of 20-minute inhibitory 1-Hz rTMS over the right inferior frontal gyrus (Brodmann area 45), and the other half received sham stimulation. Directly thereafter, all the participants underwent 45 minutes of speech and language therapy.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Aachen Aphasia Test, Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT), a naming screening, and subscales of the FIM, all assessed the day before and the day after treatment period.


      The participants who received real rTMS significantly improved with respect to all 10 measures of basic linguistic skills and functional communication, whereas sham-treated participants significantly improved in only 6 of 10 measures (paired t tests, P<.05). There was a significant difference in the gains made by the 2 groups on 5 of 10 measures including functional communication (ANELT) (repeated-measures analysis of variance, P≤.05).


      For the first time, this study has demonstrated that basic linguistic skills as well as functional communication are bolstered by combining rTMS and behavioral language therapy in patients with subacute aphasia.


      List of abbreviations:

      AAT (Aachen Aphasia Test), ANELT (Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test), ANOVA (analysis of variance), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), SLT (speech and language therapy), rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation)
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