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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Language Therapy for Primary Progressive Aphasia


Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the gradual loss of language functioning. This study will test the effects of multiple consecutive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) sessions paired with language therapy in adults with PPA.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
18 Years 100 Years All No
October 10, 2018
September 2023

  • Diagnosis of PPA
  • Capable of giving informed consent or indicating another to provide informed consent

  • Did not speak English before the age of 5
  • Less than 10 years of education
  • Severe naming deficits
  • Significant history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • History of psychiatric or neurological problems affecting the brain (besides PPA)
  • Seizures during the past 12 months
  • History of brain surgery or metal in the head
  • Uncorrected visual loss or hearing loss by self-report
  • Use of medications that lower the seizure threshold (e.g., methylphenidate) or use of N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists (e.g., memantine)
  • Scalp sensitivity

tDCS is a noninvasive therapy that delivers electrical current to the brain. Participants will initially undergo either active or sham stimulation during a 45-minute oral and written speech-language therapy session. After a 2-month washout period, participants will undergo the treatment that they previously didn't receive. Researchers will investigate whether combining the two interventions will enhance word retrieval deficits in PPA and slow the loss of language functioning.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Baltimore Maryland 21287 Recruiting Shannon M Sheppard, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

Name Role Affiliation
Argye E. Hillis, MD Principal Investigator Johns Hopkins University

Name Phone Email
Shannon M. Sheppard, PhD 410-502-6045
Argye E. Hillis, MD 410-614-2381


Rehabilitating and Decelerating Language Loss in Primary Progressive Aphasia With Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Plus Language Therapy