BACKGROUND: The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases is expected to increase over the next years, therefore, new methods able to prevent and delay cognitive decline are needed.
AIMS: To evaluate the effectiveness of a combined treatment protocol associating a computerized cognitive training (CoRe) with anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
METHODS: In this randomized controlled trial, 33 patients in the early stage of cognitive impairment were assigned to the experimental group (CoRE + real tDCS) or control group (CoRE + sham tDCS). In each group, the intervention lasted 3 consecutive weeks (4 sessions/week). A neuropsychological assessment was administered at baseline (T0), post-intervention (T1) and 6-months later (T2).
RESULTS: The CoRE + real tDCS group only improved in working memory and attention/processing speed at both T1 and T2. It reported a stable MMSE score at T2, while the CoRE + sham tDCS group worsened. Age, mood, and T0 MMSE score resulted to play a role in predicting treatment effects.
CONCLUSION: Combined multi-domain interventions may contribute to preventing or delaying disease progression.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Trial registration number (ClinicalTrials.gov): NCT04118686.