Background: Low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has emerged as a potential tool for neurorehabilitation and remediation of language in chronic non-fluent aphasia post-stroke. Inhibitory (1 Hz) rTMS has been applied to homologous language sites to facilitate behavioural language changes. Improvements in picture-naming performance and speech output over time have been reported.
Methods: Low-frequency (1 Hz) rTMS was applied to six real stimulation and six sham placebo patients for 20 min per day, for 10 days, and behavioural language outcome measures were taken at baseline (pre-stimulation) and 2 months post-stimulation.
Results: The findings demonstrate treatment-related changes observed in the stimulation group when compared to the placebo control group at 2 months post-stimulation on naming performance as well as other aspects of expressive language and auditory comprehension.
Conclusions: These findings provide considerable evidence to support the theory of rTMS modulating mechanisms of transcallosal disinhibition in the aphasic brain and highlight the potential clinical applications for language rehabilitation post-stroke.