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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Primary Progressive Aphasia


This study will test the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) during language therapy in people with primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a neurodegenerative disease that affects language abilities. Investigators will assess if this intervention is more effective than language therapy alone. They will also assess changes in functional brain connectivity associated with tDCS.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
50 Years 90 Years Both Yes
April 2013
April 2021

  • Diagnosed with PPA and mild cognitive impairment
  • Right-handed
  • Ability to speak English
  • At least 9th grade education

  • Uncorrected visual or hearing impairment
  • Stroke or other neurological disorder affecting the brain other than PPA
  • Any other language-based learning disorder other than PPA
  • Inability to follow directions for baseline tasks
  • Western Aphasia Battery Aphasia Quotient score of less than 30, indicating severe language impairment
  • Contraindication for MRI, including severe claustrophobia, cardiac pacemaker, or ferromagnetic implants
  • Pregnancy

During the first 12 weeks of the study, participants will not receive therapy so that investigators can estimate their stage of PPA and natural rate of decline. They will then be randomly assigned to receive either the tDCS treatment or the sham treatment for 1-3 weeks (three to five sessions per week). After 2 months, the treatment not originally received will be administered. The goal is to see if tDCS with language therapy can improve language performance or decrease rate of decline in people with PPA.

tDCS is a therapy that delivers electrical current to the brain. It will be delivered at the beginning of language therapy, which will be tailored to each participant's needs. Participants will also undergo a series of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans and language tests. MRI scans will be performed at enrollment, before and after each tDCS treatment, and at follow-up intervals.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore Maryland 21204 Recruiting Kyrana Tsapkini, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Name Role Affiliation
Kyrana Tsapkini, PhD Principal Investigator Johns Hopkins University

Name Phone Email
Kyrana Tsapkini, PhD 410-736-2940


Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Spoken and Written Production in Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)