Functional magnetic resonance imaging of language following constraint-induced aphasia therapy primed with intermittent theta burst stimulation in 13 patients with post-stroke aphasia

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Background: Aphasia is a debilitating consequence of stroke. This study aimed to investigate the role of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation changes during overt language tasks in promoting language improvements following constraint-induced aphasia therapy (CIAT) primed with intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) in 13 patients with aphasia following ischemic stroke. Material/Methods: Participants with post-stroke aphasia participated in CIAT primed with iTBS on 10 consecutive weekdays. They also underwent language testing and fMRI while performing overt language tasks at baseline (N=13), immediately post-treatment (N=13), and after 3 months (N=12). Outcome measures were compared between time points, and relationships between changes in language ability and fMRI activation were examined. Results: We observed improvements in naming (p<0.001), aphasia symptoms (p=0.038), apraxia of speech symptoms (p=0.040), perception of everyday communicative ability (p=0.001), and the number of spoken words produced during fMRI (p=0.028). Pre- to post-treatment change in naming was negatively correlated with change in right postcentral gyrus activation related to noun-verb associations (rho=-0.554, p=0.0497). Change in aphasia symptoms from immediately after to 3 months post-treatment was negatively correlated with change in bilateral supplementary motor area activation related to verbal encoding (rho=-0.790, p=0.0022). Conclusions: Aphasia improvements coupled with fMRI activation changes over time provide support for treatment-induced neuroplasticity with CIAT primed with iTBS. However, a larger randomized sham-controlled study is warranted to confirm our findings and further our understanding of how iTBS can potentiate beneficial effects of language therapy in post-stroke aphasia.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Allendorfer JB; Nenert R; Nair S; Vannest J; Szaflarski JP
  • Volume

  • 27