Tailoring Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Therapy for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Carlos Roncero, PhD Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care


We will investigate if a higher tDCS intensity level will produce stronger results in people with Alzheimer's Disease and collect participant information to identify who best responds to tDCS

Project Details

We will run a three-round study with 60 individuals living with Alzheimer's Disease (30 Males, 30 Females). In each round, they will complete 10 day sessions of training on an executive function task accompanied with 20 minutes of tDCS set at one of three intensity levels (4 mA, 2 mA, placebo). We predict the greatest improvement will be in the 4mA condition. A second goal is investigating how individual differences impact the results found. Participants will complete brain scans to examine if the degree of brain damage, and other biological factors, impact the improvement observed. 

Most tDCS studies give tDCS at an intensity level of 2 mA, but a small number of studies find tDCS is more effective if the intensity level is 4 mA. However, no previous study has examined if this higher intensity level would produce superior results when given to people with Alzheimer's Disease. Therefore, the proposed project will be the first to compare the effectiveness of 2 mA versus 4 mA tDCS for improving the quality of life in people with Alzheimer's Disease. do so and can lead to a new and improved method for giving tDCS to people with Alzheimer's Disease. The number of studies investigating tDCS as a therapy for dementia remains small, and the optimal parameters are unknown. We also observe differences in improvement among participants but cannot predict which individuals will benefit the most from tDCS. The proposed project aims to fill this knowledge gap by investigating how different variables impact the effectiveness of tDCS. Therefore, the proposed project will provide a significant step forward towards finding the optimized montage for people with Alzheimer's disease, which will serve as an essential step towards future clinical trials.