Can Brain Stimulation Reteach Stroke Patients To Speak?
Strokes can do a lot of physical and mental damage to victims. For some, a stroke can mean the loss of speech and language altogether. The only way carers have been able to handle aphasia, or a disorder affecting the ability to grasp language, read, write or speak, has been speech and language therapy which often only gives limited recovery. Between 20 and 30 percent of all stroke survivors deal with aphasia, and as reported by Consumer Affairs, non-invasive brain stimulation may be able to help them recover their speech and language difficulties.
A small study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, treated 24 stroke survivors with varying forms of aphasia in Cologne, Germany, where thirteen received transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and 11 were given a placebo version of the treatment. They went through 20 minutes of TMS or the placebo every day for 10 days, followed by 45 minutes of speech and language therapy.
The groups which received the real treatment showed an average of three times greater improvements than the placebo group. TMS showed the biggest impact on anomia, or the inability to name objects, which is often one of the most debilitating aphasia symptoms.