September 26, 2018 – Brain Stimulation


Anchor lead: Can transcranial stimulation help people who are having trouble with speech? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Transcranial direct current stimulation or TDCS sends a small electrical current through the skull to stimulate certain areas of the brain. Now research by Kyrana Tsapkini and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has shown it can help people with certain types of disorders affecting speech.

Tsapkini: We use TDCS as an adjunct to speech therapy. We found that the answer depends on what variant you are talking about. The disorder has very different pathologies, phenotypes, and some of them of course are mixed.  :19

Tsapkini says those variants that are the result of an Alzheimer type pathology really aren’t helped, but others are.

Tsapkini: It improves their writing more than regular spelling therapy. And that is sustained for two months.  :08

Tsapkini plans more longer term studies to evaluate the technique and says MRI may help pinpoint who is most likely to benefit. She also hopes to study whether the technique can be used by patients themselves at home. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.