Purpose: The purpose of this article is to review the behavioral treatments used in aphasia rehabilitation research that have been combined with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Although tDCS in aphasia treatment has shown promise, the results have not been conclusive, and their interpretation is further compounded by the heterogeneity of study characteristics. Because implementing a behavioral task during brain stimulation has been shown to be pivotal to the adjuvant effects of tDCS, we analyze the behavioral treatments that have been paired with tDCS.
Method: A computerized database search (PubMed) was completed to document and review aphasia treatment studies that combine behavioral treatment with noninvasive brain stimulation in the form of tDCS. Two authors reviewed each aphasia tDCS article published between 2008 and 2015 and evaluated (a) the behavioral interventions for aphasia that have been combined with tDCS, and (b) the methodological variables that may have influenced language outcomes in the tDCS aphasia literature.
Conclusions: A review of the behavioral treatments implemented in tDCS aphasia rehabilitation studies highlights several methodological considerations for future investigations. Impairment-focused and pragmatic treatments have been implemented in tDCS aphasia research studies. No one behavioral approach stands out as the best treatment to combine with tDCS for the promotion of language recovery.
- Journal Article