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Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2019 Apr-Jun;33(2):170-178. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000304.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Improves Cognitive Function in Mild to Moderate Alzheimer Disease: A Meta-Analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology & Imaging Institute of Rehabilitation and Development of Brain Function, The Second Clinical Medical College of North Sichuan Medical College Nanchong Central Hospital, Nanchong.
2
Lotus Biotech.com LLC., John Hopkins University-MCC, Rockville, MD.
3
The Clinical Medical College of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou.
4
Department of Genitourinary, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, CA.
6
Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, China.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the therapeutic effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD) patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched until April 2018. The primary cognitive outcomes were extracted from included articles. A crude standardized mean difference with 95% CI was calculated by using fixed or random effect models.

RESULTS:

Seven studies with 146 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled result showed that tDCS significantly improved cognitive function of AD patients (standardized mean difference=0.37; 95% CI, 0.09-0.65; P=0.01). Subgroup analyses showed that: a single session of tDCS was significantly effective (P<0.05) whereas repeated sessions of tDCS was not lower current density (0.06 mA/cm) (P>0.05) but not higher current density (0.08 mA/cm) significantly improved cognitive performance; stimulating the temporal cortex (P<0.05) but not the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex significantly improved cognitive function of AD patients; and improved cognitive function occurred in the group with higher education (P<0.05) but not in the group with lower education.

CONCLUSIONS:

Current evidence suggests that tDCS has a beneficial effect in mild to moderate AD patients. We must be cautious about the results of subgroup analysis given small sample sizes, and further well-designed studies with larger sample size are required to verify these results.

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