rTMS treatments combined with speech training for a conduction aphasia patient: A case report with MRI study

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Rationale:To date, little is known regarding the neural mechanisms of the functional recovery of language after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in aphasia. Our aim was to investigate the mechanism that underlies rTMS and speech training in a case report.Patient concerns and diagnoses:We report the case of a 39-year-old woman who was initially diagnosed with conduction aphasia following a left hemisphere stroke.Interventions:The rTMS location comprised the left Broca area, and a frequency of 5 Hz for 20 min/d for 10 days during a 2-week period was used. She had received speech rehabilitation training 1 month after stroke. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging were used to investigate the functional and microstructural changes before and after rTMS treatment.Outcomes:The results demonstrated that the Western Aphasia Battery scores significantly improved for language ability at 2 weeks post-treatment, and the gains were steadily increased at 2.5 months post-treatment. The fMRI results indicated a more focused activation pattern and showed significant activation in the left dominant hemisphere relative to the right hemisphere, especially in the perilesional areas, post-treatment during 2 language tasks compared with pretreatment. Moreover, the fractional anisotropy increased in the left superior temporal gyrus, which comprises an important area that is involved in language processing.Lessons:Our findings suggest that rTMS combined with speech training improved the speech-language ability of this chronic conduction aphasia patient and enhanced the cerebral functional and microstructural reorganization.

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