Non-invasive brain stimulation and aphasia

Rahel Schumacher
Funding: Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Duration: 2010-2015

Aphasia, an acquired impairment or loss of language functions, is a common consequence after unilateral - usually left hemispheric - stroke. Non-invasive stimulation techniques such as repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) are increasingly used in neuroscience and particularly in neurorehabilitation research. These techniques are able to influence cortical excitability by applying a fast changing magnetic field (rTMS) or (weak) direct current (tDCS) to the brain.

The aim of the project is to study aphasia recovery processes and the possibility to influence them by means of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. We will evaluate under which circumstances rTMS (in particular an inhibitory theta burst stimulation (TBS) protocol), applied to the nondominant right inferior frontal lobe, can lead to an improvement in language functions in aphasic patients.