PUBLICATION DATE

2015-09-22

AUTHORS

Peter E. Turkeltaub

TITLE

Brain Stimulation and the Role of the Right Hemisphere in Aphasia Recovery

ISSUE

11

VOLUME

15

ISSN (print)

1528-4042

ISSN (electronic)

1534-6293

ABSTRACT

Aphasia is a common consequence of left hemisphere stroke and causes a disabling loss of language and communication ability. Current treatments for aphasia are inadequate, leaving a majority of aphasia sufferers with ongoing communication difficulties for the rest of their lives. In the past decade, two forms of noninvasive brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation, have emerged as promising new treatments for aphasia. The most common brain stimulation protocols attempt to inhibit the intact right hemisphere based on the hypothesis that maladaptive activity in the right hemisphere limits language recovery in the left. There is now sufficient evidence to demonstrate that this approach, at least for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, improves specific language abilities in aphasia. However, the biological mechanisms that produce these behavioral improvements remain poorly understood. Taken in the context of the larger neurobiological literature on aphasia recovery, the role of the right hemisphere in aphasia recovery remains unclear. Additional research is needed to understand biological mechanisms of recovery, in order to optimize brain stimulation treatments for aphasia. This article summarizes the current evidence on noninvasive brain stimulation methods for aphasia and the neuroscientific considerations surrounding treatments using right hemisphere inhibition. Suggestions are provided for further investigation and for clinicians whose patients ask about brain stimulation treatments for aphasia.

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1 articles:1198a106cd3da32a4b3ab74a765991a9 sg:abstract Abstract Aphasia is a common consequence of left hemisphere stroke and causes a disabling loss of language and communication ability. Current treatments for aphasia are inadequate, leaving a majority of aphasia sufferers with ongoing communication difficulties for the rest of their lives. In the past decade, two forms of noninvasive brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation, have emerged as promising new treatments for aphasia. The most common brain stimulation protocols attempt to inhibit the intact right hemisphere based on the hypothesis that maladaptive activity in the right hemisphere limits language recovery in the left. There is now sufficient evidence to demonstrate that this approach, at least for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, improves specific language abilities in aphasia. However, the biological mechanisms that produce these behavioral improvements remain poorly understood. Taken in the context of the larger neurobiological literature on aphasia recovery, the role of the right hemisphere in aphasia recovery remains unclear. Additional research is needed to understand biological mechanisms of recovery, in order to optimize brain stimulation treatments for aphasia. This article summarizes the current evidence on noninvasive brain stimulation methods for aphasia and the neuroscientific considerations surrounding treatments using right hemisphere inhibition. Suggestions are provided for further investigation and for clinicians whose patients ask about brain stimulation treatments for aphasia.
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27 sg:publicationDate 2015-09-22
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30 sg:scigraphId 1198a106cd3da32a4b3ab74a765991a9
31 sg:title Brain Stimulation and the Role of the Right Hemisphere in Aphasia Recovery
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