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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 8428256, 21 pages
Review Article

Taking Sides: An Integrative Review of the Impact of Laterality and Polarity on Efficacy of Therapeutic Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Anomia in Chronic Poststroke Aphasia

Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit, School of Psychological Sciences, 3rd Floor, Zochonis Building, University of Manchester, Brunswick Street, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Received 16 April 2015; Revised 10 August 2015; Accepted 24 August 2015

Academic Editor: Chul-Hee Choi

Copyright © 2016 Margaret Sandars et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anomia is a frequent and persistent symptom of poststroke aphasia, resulting from damage to areas of the brain involved in language production. Cortical neuroplasticity plays a significant role in language recovery following stroke and can be facilitated by behavioral speech and language therapy. Recent research suggests that complementing therapy with neurostimulation techniques may enhance functional gains, even amongst those with chronic aphasia. The current review focuses on the use of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) as an adjunct to naming therapy for individuals with chronic poststroke aphasia. Our survey of the literature indicates that combining therapy with anodal (excitatory) stimulation to the left hemisphere and/or cathodal (inhibitory) stimulation to the right hemisphere can increase both naming accuracy and speed when compared to the effects of therapy alone. However, the benefits of tDCS as a complement to therapy have not been yet systematically investigated with respect to site and polarity of stimulation. Recommendations for future research to help determine optimal protocols for combined therapy and tDCS are outlined.