Brain stimulation improves ability to speak after stroke


Study with electrical brain stimulation therapy shows positive effects for stroke patients

After stroke, many patients lose their ability to speak. These so-called aphasia patients cannot, for example, make the connection between an object and its name. NeuroCure researcher Prof. Dr. Agnes Flöel at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin was able to improve the speech disorders of these patients by successfully treating certain brain areas with weak direct current.

In the clinical study, aphasia patients were treated for eight days twice a day for twenty minutes with either direct current stimulation or sham stimulation. In addition, the patients underwent speech training several hours daily. The group treated with electrical stimulation made more progress in language training compared to the sham stimulation group. "At each training, a slightly larger increase in learning was observed than in the group with sham stimulation," says Flöel. After eight days of training the difference was "quite large", states Flöel. Patients could identify objects more successfully, and complete purchases or doctor visits more easily. According to Flöel, the positive effects of brain stimulation lasted for about half a year.

The study "Electrical stimulation of the motor cortex enhances treatment outcome in post-stroke aphasia" was published in the journal "Brain" and has received high media attention. A larger follow-up study with more patients and in other locations is planned.

Prof. Dr. Agnes Flöel
Phone: +49 (0)30 450 560 284

Source: Summary of Charité press review


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