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Effects of Prefrontal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Lexical Access in Chronic Poststroke Aphasia

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Pestalozzi Maria I., Di Pietro Marie, Martins Gaytanidis Chrisovalandou, Spierer Lucas, Schnider Armin, Chouiter Leila, Colombo Françoise, Annoni Jean-Marie, Jost Lea B.,
Project Role of executive functions on language: an experimental and clinical approach with application to mother language and second language
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Volume (Issue) 32(10)
Page(s) 913 - 923
Title of proceedings Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
DOI 10.1177/1545968318801551


Abstract BACKGROUND: A successful interplay between prefrontal and domain-specific language areas is critical for language processing. Previous studies involving people with aphasia have shown that executive control processes might act on lexical-semantic representations during retrieval. Modulating the prefrontal control network by means of noninvasive brain stimulation might, therefore, improve lexical access in people with aphasia. OBJECTIVE: The present study investigates the effects of prefrontal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on lexical access in chronic poststroke aphasia. METHODS: We report data of 14 participants with chronic poststroke aphasia. We used a sham-tDCS (S-tDCS) controlled and double-blind within-subjects design. Performances in picture naming, verbal fluency, and word repetition were assessed immediately after stimulation. RESULTS: As compared with S-tDCS, anodal tDCS (A-tDCS) improved verbal fluency as well as the speed of naming high frequency words, but not word repetition. CONCLUSION: The results of our study suggest that the brain network dedicated to lexical retrieval processing can be facilitated by A-tDCS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This finding supports the notion that strengthening executive control functions after stroke could complement speech and language-focused therapy.