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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 244-251.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.03.002

• Original Chinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Combining electroacupuncture and transcranial direct current stimulation as an adjuvant therapy enhances spontaneous conversation and naming in subacute vascular aphasia: A retrospective analysis

Samwel Sylvester Msigwa a,b, Yan Li a, Xiang-lin Cheng a,c, Fen Cao a,c   

  1. a Department of Neurology, the Clinical Medicine School of Yangtze University, the First Affiliated Hospital of Yangtze University, Jingzhou 424023, Hubei Province, China
    b Department of Research and Training, Mirembe National Mental Health Hospital, P. O. Box 910, Dodoma, Tanzania
    c Department of Rehabilitation, The First Affiliated Hospital of Yangtze University, Jingzhou 424023, Hubei Province, China
  • Received:2021-02-18 Accepted:2022-01-21 Online:2022-05-09 Published:2022-03-12
  • Contact: Xiang-lin Cheng, E-mail:45423626@qq.com Fen Cao,E-mail:312114652@qq.com

Objective
Emerging evidence shows the effectiveness of speech and language therapy (SLT); however, precise therapeutic parameters remain unclear. Evidence for the use of adjunctive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to treat post-stroke aphasia (PSA) is promising; however, the utility of combining tDCS and electroacupuncture (EA) has not yet been analyzed. This study assessed the therapeutic consequences of EA and tDCS coupled with SLT in subacute PSA patients who were also undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

Methods
A retrospective analysis was conducted on subacute (<?6 months) PSA patients who were divided into three groups: patients who received EA plus tDCS (acupuncture group), patients who underwent tDCS (tDCS group), and patients who experienced conventional therapy (HBOT + SLT). All subjects underwent 21 days of treatment and also received conventional treatment. The aphasia battery of Chinese (ABC) was used to score pre- and post-intervention status.

Results
The analysis comprised 238 patients. Cerebral infarction was the most frequent stroke type (137 [57.6%]), while motor (66 [27.7%]) and global aphasia (60 [25.2%]) were the most common types of aphasia. After 21 days of intervention, the ABC scores of all patients were improved. The acupuncture group had the highest ABC scores, but only repetition, naming, and spontaneous speech were statistically improved (P < 0.01). Post-hoc tests revealed significant improvement in word retrieval in the acupuncture and tDCS groups (P < 0.01, P = 0.037), while the acupuncture group had additional significant improvement in spontaneous conversation (P < 0.01).

Conclusion
Combining acupuncture and tDCS as an adjuvant therapy for subacute PSA led to significant spontaneous speech and word retrieval improvements. Future prospective, multi-ethnic, multi-center trials are warranted.

Key words: Aphasia, Stroke rehabilitation, Acupuncture, Electro-acupuncture, Transcranial direct current stimulation

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