Transcranial direct current stimulation improves recognition memory in Alzheimer disease

Neurology. 2008 Aug 12;71(7):493-8. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000317060.43722.a3. Epub 2008 Jun 4.


Objective: To evaluate the cognitive effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the temporoparietal areas in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD).

Methods: In 10 patients with probable AD, we delivered anodal tDCS (AtDCS), cathodal tDCS (CtDCS), and sham tDCS (StDCS) over the temporoparietal areas in three sessions. In each session recognition memory and visual attention were tested at baseline (prestimulation) and 30 minutes after tDCS ended (poststimulation).

Results: After AtDCS, accuracy of the word recognition memory task increased (prestimulation: 15.5 +/- 0.9, poststimulation: 17.9 +/- 0.8, p = 0.0068) whereas after CtDCS it decreased (15.8 +/- 0.6 vs 13.2 +/- 0.9, p = 0.011) and after StDCS it remained unchanged (16.3 +/- 0.7 vs 16.0 +/- 1.0, p = 0.75). tDCS left the visual attention-reaction times unchanged.

Conclusion: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) delivered over the temporoparietal areas can specifically affect a recognition memory performance in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). Because tDCS is simple, safe and inexpensive, our finding prompts studies using repeated tDCS, in conjunction with other therapeutic interventions for treating patients with AD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*