Epidural Cortical Stimulation as Adjunctive Treatment for Nonfluent Aphasia: Phase 1 Clinical Trial Follow-up Findings

Leora R. Cherney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. There is increasing interest in the application of cortical stimulation (CS) as an adjuvant strategy in aphasia rehabilitation. Epidural CS, although more invasive than other methods, can provide high-frequency ipsilesional stimulation with greater spatial specificity. Objective. We review methods and results of a phase 1 study of epidural CS in combination with rehabilitation therapy in aphasia and provide new objective and self-report data collected between 6 and 21 months after the end of treatment. Methods. Eight stroke survivors with nonfluent aphasia received intensive language therapy, 3 hours a day, for 6 weeks. Four participants also underwent surgical implantation of an epidural stimulation device that was activated only during therapy sessions. Behavioral data were collected before treatment, at the end of treatment, and at 6 and 12 weeks after the end of treatment. Of the 8 participants, 7 also participated in the longer-term follow-up visit. Results. Changes in objective scores from baseline were larger in investigational participants than controls at all assessments, including the longer-term follow-up visit. Satisfaction ratings and ratings of overall improvement by investigational participants and their companions were more varied than those of the controls, but all indicated that they would recommend the investigational treatment to others with aphasia. Conclusions. Improvements were generally maintained for at least 12 weeks posttreatment and possibly as long as 21 months posttreatment. Epidural CS is a potentially safe, feasible adjunctive intervention for persons with chronic nonfluent aphasia that spares the ventral premotor cortex and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-142
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • aphasia
  • brain stimulation
  • epidural
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Rehabilitation


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