Effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on cognition and behaviour in aging

Behav Brain Res. 2000 Jun 15;111(1-2):223-5. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(00)00170-4.


In previous studies, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) improved cognition and behaviour in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The rationale underlying these studies was that TENS could activate, e.g. the septo-hippocampal region and the hypothalamus through direct and indirect pathways. As these areas are also affected in normal aging, the present study examined the effects of TENS on cognition and behaviour in nondemented elderly persons. The results suggest an improvement in visual short-term and verbal long-term (recognition) memory, and semantic verbal fluency. Moreover, stimulated elderly persons felt less depressed. Limitations are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology
  • Septum of Brain / physiopathology
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Verbal Learning / physiology