Augmentation of spelling therapy with transcranial direct current stimulation in primary progressive aphasia: Preliminary results and challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects language functions and often begins in the fifth or sixth decade of life. The devastating effects on work and family life call for the investigation of treatment alternatives. In this article, we present new data indicating that neuromodulatory treatment, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with a spelling intervention, shows some promise for maintaining or even improving language, at least temporarily, in PPA.Aims: The main aim of the present article is to determine whether tDCS plus spelling intervention is more effective than spelling intervention alone in treating written language in PPA. We also asked whether the effects of tDCS are sustained longer than the effects of spelling intervention alone.Methods & Procedures: We present data from six PPA participants who underwent anodal tDCS or sham plus spelling intervention in a within-subject crossover design. Each stimulation condition lasted 3 weeks or a total of 15 sessions with a 2-month interval in between. Participants were evaluated on treatment tasks as well as on other language and cognitive tasks at 2-week and 2-month follow-up intervals after each stimulation condition.Outcomes & Results: All participants showed improvement in spelling (with sham or tDCS). There was no difference in the treated items between the two conditions. There was, however, consistent and significant improvement for untrained items only in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition. Furthermore, the improvement lasted longer in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition compared to sham plus spelling intervention condition.Conclusions: Neuromodulation with tDCS offers promise as a means of augmenting language therapy to improve written language function at least temporarily in PPA. The consistent finding of generalisation of treatment benefits to untreated items and the superior sustainability of treatment effects with tDCS justifies further investigations. However, the small sample size still requires caution in interpretation. Present interventions need to be optimised, and particular challenges, such as ways to account for the variable effect of degeneration in each individual, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1130
Number of pages19
JournalAphasiology
Volume28
Issue number8-9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Primary Progressive Aphasia
speech disorder
Language
Therapeutics
written language
language
Language Therapy
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Therapy
Spelling
Stimulation
Augmentation
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Sample Size
Cross-Over Studies
sustainability

Keywords

  • Intervention
  • Language rehabilitation
  • PPA
  • Spelling
  • tDCS
  • Writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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title = "Augmentation of spelling therapy with transcranial direct current stimulation in primary progressive aphasia: Preliminary results and challenges",
abstract = "Background: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects language functions and often begins in the fifth or sixth decade of life. The devastating effects on work and family life call for the investigation of treatment alternatives. In this article, we present new data indicating that neuromodulatory treatment, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with a spelling intervention, shows some promise for maintaining or even improving language, at least temporarily, in PPA.Aims: The main aim of the present article is to determine whether tDCS plus spelling intervention is more effective than spelling intervention alone in treating written language in PPA. We also asked whether the effects of tDCS are sustained longer than the effects of spelling intervention alone.Methods & Procedures: We present data from six PPA participants who underwent anodal tDCS or sham plus spelling intervention in a within-subject crossover design. Each stimulation condition lasted 3 weeks or a total of 15 sessions with a 2-month interval in between. Participants were evaluated on treatment tasks as well as on other language and cognitive tasks at 2-week and 2-month follow-up intervals after each stimulation condition.Outcomes & Results: All participants showed improvement in spelling (with sham or tDCS). There was no difference in the treated items between the two conditions. There was, however, consistent and significant improvement for untrained items only in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition. Furthermore, the improvement lasted longer in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition compared to sham plus spelling intervention condition.Conclusions: Neuromodulation with tDCS offers promise as a means of augmenting language therapy to improve written language function at least temporarily in PPA. The consistent finding of generalisation of treatment benefits to untreated items and the superior sustainability of treatment effects with tDCS justifies further investigations. However, the small sample size still requires caution in interpretation. Present interventions need to be optimised, and particular challenges, such as ways to account for the variable effect of degeneration in each individual, are discussed.",
keywords = "Intervention, Language rehabilitation, PPA, Spelling, tDCS, Writing",
author = "Kyrana Tsapkini and Constantine Frangakis and Yessenia Gomez and Cameron Davis and Argye Hillis-Trupe",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1080/02687038.2014.930410",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "28",
pages = "1112--1130",
journal = "Aphasiology",
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T1 - Augmentation of spelling therapy with transcranial direct current stimulation in primary progressive aphasia

T2 - Preliminary results and challenges

AU - Tsapkini, Kyrana

AU - Frangakis, Constantine

AU - Gomez, Yessenia

AU - Davis, Cameron

AU - Hillis-Trupe, Argye

PY - 2014

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N2 - Background: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects language functions and often begins in the fifth or sixth decade of life. The devastating effects on work and family life call for the investigation of treatment alternatives. In this article, we present new data indicating that neuromodulatory treatment, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with a spelling intervention, shows some promise for maintaining or even improving language, at least temporarily, in PPA.Aims: The main aim of the present article is to determine whether tDCS plus spelling intervention is more effective than spelling intervention alone in treating written language in PPA. We also asked whether the effects of tDCS are sustained longer than the effects of spelling intervention alone.Methods & Procedures: We present data from six PPA participants who underwent anodal tDCS or sham plus spelling intervention in a within-subject crossover design. Each stimulation condition lasted 3 weeks or a total of 15 sessions with a 2-month interval in between. Participants were evaluated on treatment tasks as well as on other language and cognitive tasks at 2-week and 2-month follow-up intervals after each stimulation condition.Outcomes & Results: All participants showed improvement in spelling (with sham or tDCS). There was no difference in the treated items between the two conditions. There was, however, consistent and significant improvement for untrained items only in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition. Furthermore, the improvement lasted longer in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition compared to sham plus spelling intervention condition.Conclusions: Neuromodulation with tDCS offers promise as a means of augmenting language therapy to improve written language function at least temporarily in PPA. The consistent finding of generalisation of treatment benefits to untreated items and the superior sustainability of treatment effects with tDCS justifies further investigations. However, the small sample size still requires caution in interpretation. Present interventions need to be optimised, and particular challenges, such as ways to account for the variable effect of degeneration in each individual, are discussed.

AB - Background: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects language functions and often begins in the fifth or sixth decade of life. The devastating effects on work and family life call for the investigation of treatment alternatives. In this article, we present new data indicating that neuromodulatory treatment, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with a spelling intervention, shows some promise for maintaining or even improving language, at least temporarily, in PPA.Aims: The main aim of the present article is to determine whether tDCS plus spelling intervention is more effective than spelling intervention alone in treating written language in PPA. We also asked whether the effects of tDCS are sustained longer than the effects of spelling intervention alone.Methods & Procedures: We present data from six PPA participants who underwent anodal tDCS or sham plus spelling intervention in a within-subject crossover design. Each stimulation condition lasted 3 weeks or a total of 15 sessions with a 2-month interval in between. Participants were evaluated on treatment tasks as well as on other language and cognitive tasks at 2-week and 2-month follow-up intervals after each stimulation condition.Outcomes & Results: All participants showed improvement in spelling (with sham or tDCS). There was no difference in the treated items between the two conditions. There was, however, consistent and significant improvement for untrained items only in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition. Furthermore, the improvement lasted longer in the tDCS plus spelling intervention condition compared to sham plus spelling intervention condition.Conclusions: Neuromodulation with tDCS offers promise as a means of augmenting language therapy to improve written language function at least temporarily in PPA. The consistent finding of generalisation of treatment benefits to untreated items and the superior sustainability of treatment effects with tDCS justifies further investigations. However, the small sample size still requires caution in interpretation. Present interventions need to be optimised, and particular challenges, such as ways to account for the variable effect of degeneration in each individual, are discussed.

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