Brain Stimulation in Alzheimer's Disease

Front Psychiatry. 2018 May 22;9:201. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00201. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Brain stimulation techniques can modulate cognitive functions in many neuropsychiatric diseases. Pilot studies have shown promising effects of brain stimulations on Alzheimer's disease (AD). Brain stimulations can be categorized into non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) and invasive brain stimulation (IBS). IBS includes deep brain stimulation (DBS), and invasive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), whereas NIBS includes transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), magnetic seizure therapy (MST), cranial electrostimulation (CES), and non-invasive VNS. We reviewed the cutting-edge research on these brain stimulation techniques and discussed their therapeutic effects on AD. Both IBS and NIBS may have potential to be developed as novel treatments for AD; however, mixed findings may result from different study designs, patients selection, population, or samples sizes. Therefore, the efficacy of NIBS and IBS in AD remains uncertain, and needs to be further investigated. Moreover, more standardized study designs with larger sample sizes and longitudinal follow-up are warranted for establishing a structural guide for future studies and clinical application.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease (AD); brain stimulation; cranial electrostimulation (CES); electroconvulsive treatment (ECT); magnetic seizure therapy (MST); transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS); transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS); transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Publication types

  • Review