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Neurodegener Dis Manag. 2017 Oct;7(5):317-329. doi: 10.2217/nmt-2017-0021. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Using transcranial direct current stimulation to treat symptoms in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group, Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Geriatric Psychiatry Division, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has recently been investigated as a potential nonpharmacological treatment for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). A comprehensive literature search was performed on tDCS studies published until March 2017 using MEDLINE, Embase and PsychINFO databases. 12 articles with a total of 202 MCI or AD participants were included. Although ten of the 12 studies demonstrated positive findings with tDCS, two studies reported no effect on cognition. There was a wide range of methodological approaches used and in the cognitive functions measured. The variability in treatment response may be related to the heterogeneity in stimulation parameters including the site of stimulation, and cognitive assessments used. Patient-related factors including individual psychological, biological, and physiological status at the time of stimulation may also influence treatment response. We recommend that more comparative studies using similar patient factors and study parameters are needed in order to better understand the efficacy of tDCS in MCI and AD.


Alzheimer's disease; mild cognitive impairment; transcranial direct current stimulation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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