Treating primary progressive aphasia and elucidating neurodegeneration in the language network using transcranial direct current stimulation

Study Description:
This study is being conducted in order to determine whether High-Definition Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (HD-tDCS) paired with speech/language therapy can improve language in persons with the non-fluent /agrammatic and logopenic variants of Primary Progressive Aphasia (naPPA and lvPPA, respectively). Participants will participate in language testing and MRI scans followed up with two weeks (10 sessions) of brain stimulation paired with modified constraint-induced language therapy. The study is split into two arms – in each arm, participants will receive either real brain stimulation or placebo (fake) stimulation. After the treatment, participants will have follow-up language testing and cross over into the second round of treatment where all visits are repeated. This study will take place at the University of Pennsylvania.
Aphasia Friendly Study Description:
Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is a neurological disorder where language worsens over time. Currently, there are no treatments. We want to see if brain stimulation combined with language therapy can improve PPA. Participants will have 10 days of therapy with 20 minutes of real or placebo (fake) brain stimulation. After treatment, further testing will be completed to see if the therapy works. This study will take place at the University of Pennsylvania.
Inclusion / Exclusion Criteria:
Inclusion: 45 years or older Aphasia attributable to the logopenic variant or non-fluent/agrammatic variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia Proficiency in English Exclusion: Cognitive impairment of sufficient severity to preclude them from participating in testing / therapy (MMSE < 15) Unexplained seizure or loss of consciousness in the past 6 months Undergone a previous craniotomy or breach of the skull Metallic objects in the head or face other than dental braces, fillings, or implants Pacemaker or ICD implant History of Stroke Transient ischemic attack in the past 6 months History of small vessel disease Contraindications to receiving an MRI Ongoing abuse of alcohol or drugs Active and/or severe psychological disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression) Pregnancy
Principal Investigator:
Roy Hamilton
Contact Email:
Primary Progressive Aphasia
Observational or Treatment:
Type of Treatment:
Non-invasive brain stimulation, high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation, constraint induced language therapy
Duration of Study:
The study requires that participants come to Penn for approximately 35 visits over 6-8 months.
Study Start Date:
December 1, 2020
Study End Date:
July 1, 2024
Costs or Reimbursement:
Participants are compensated $20/hr during each visit and travel reimbursements are available for up to $50/day to cover the cost of mileage, parking, tolls, accommodation, etc.
IRB Approval #
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