Transcranial direct current stimulation in post-stroke sub-acute aphasia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Kerstin Spielmann, Mieke Koenderman, Majanka Heijenbrok - Kal, Gerard Ribbers

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Abstract

Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising new technique to optimize the effect of regular Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) in the context of aphasia rehabilitation. The present study focuses on the effect of tDCS provided during SLT in the sub-acute stage after stroke. The primary aim is to evaluate the potential effect of tDCS on language functioning, specifically on word-finding, as well as generalization effects to verbal communication. The secondary aim is to evaluate its effect on social participation and quality of life, and its cost-effectiveness. Methods: We strive to include 58 stroke patients with aphasia, enrolled in an inpatient or outpatient stroke rehabilitation program, in a multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial with two parallel groups and 6 months' follow-up. Patients will participate in two separate intervention weeks, with a pause of 2 weeks in between, in the context of their regular aphasia rehabilitation program. The two intervention weeks comprise daily 45-minute sessions of word-finding therapy, combined with either anodal tDCS over the left inferior frontal gyrus (1 mA, 20 minutes; experimental condition) or sham-tDCS over the same region (control condition). The primary outcome measure is word-finding. Secondary outcome measures are verbal communication, social participation, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Discussion: Our results will contribute to the discussion on whether tDCS should be implemented in regular aphasia rehabilitation programs for the sub-acute post-stroke population in terms of (cost-)effectiveness.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalTrials
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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