Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on episodic memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A pilot study

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Abstract

Objectives: Episodic memory is impaired in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which is posited as a potential prodromal form of Alzheimer's disease. Reactivated existing memories become sensitive to modification during reconsolidation. There is evidence that the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays causal role in episodic memory reconsolidation. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied to the PFC after a contextual reminder enhanced episodic memory performance up to one month, conceivably through reconsolidation, in older adults with subjective memory complaints, a condition that may represent a "pre-MCI" stage. The aim of this pilot study was to test the effect of PFC-tDCS (anode over left lateral PFC, cathode over right supraorbital area) after a contextual reminder on episodic memory in older adults with aMCI.

Method: Older adults with aMCI learned a list of words. 24 hours later, tDCS (active or sham) was applied after a contextual reminder. Memory retrieval (free recall and recognition) was tested 48 hours and one month after the learning session.

Results: Active tDCS enhanced recognition memory relative to sham stimulation.

Discussion: Modulating reconsolidation with PFC-tDCS might be a novel intervention to enhance episodic memories in aMCI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 5 2018

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