Chronic Aphasia - Improved by Intensive Training and Electrical Brain Stimulation (CATS)

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Charité University Medicine Berlin

Status and phase

Phase 2


Post-Stroke Chronic Aphasia
Anomia (Word-retrieval Impairment)


Behavioral: Intensive language therapy

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


The purpose of this study is to determine if non-invasive electrical brain stimulation can enhance the out of intensive language therapy in chronic aphasia

Full description

Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Given the increasing average lifespan worldwide, the incidence and prevalence of patients with stroke will dramatically increase in the future. One of the most frequent and devastating conditions after stroke is aphasia, which affects language production and comprehension. High-frequent intensive speech-and-language therapy is currently the treatment of choice in chronic aphasia. However, despite its general effectiveness, treatment effect sizes are only low to moderate. Thus, there is a pressing need to explore novel training-adjuvant therapies to enhance treatment efficacy. Moreover, very little is known about the neurobiology of treatment-induced recovery in chronic aphasia. This is the prerequisite to improve existing and/or develop new treatment paradigms. Thus, in the present project we aim to assess whether the outcome of intensive language training can be enhanced by adjuvant non-invasive brain stimulation. We will be using anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (atDCS) that has previously been shown to enhance (a) language and motor learning in healthy subjects and (b) motor recovery in stroke patients. Specifically, in a longitudinal group comparison design, two matched groups of patients with chronic anomia will receive two weeks of intensive language training with or without atDCS. Treatment effects will be assessed immediately after the two week intervention period and several months after the end of the training. We will also use functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to elucidate language network changes in the two groups.


40 estimated patients




18 to 70 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • right-handedness
  • single first time left-hemisphere stroke
  • fluent- or non-fluent chronic aphasia (more than six months post-stroke)
  • anomia (PR>10 and PR<60 Aachen Aphasia Naming Subtest)
  • native German Speaker

Exclusion criteria

  • more than one stroke
  • alcoholism, severe psychiatric conditions, other neurological conditions
  • other non-treated medical problems, severe microangiopathy
  • pregnancy

Trial design

40 participants in 2 patient groups, including a placebo group

sham tDCS
Placebo Comparator group
Behavioral: Intensive language therapy
anodal tDCS
Experimental group
Behavioral: Intensive language therapy

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Marcus Meinzer, PhD; Agnes Flöel, MD

Data sourced from

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