Cognitive Training, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Improves Cognition in Parkinson’s

transcranial direct current stimulation brain stimulation
transcranial direct current stimulation brain stimulation
Cognitive training and tDCS, alone or combined, appear to benefit cognition and QOL in Parkinson's patients

Cognitive training and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), alone or combined, may help improve cognition in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The findings were presented at the 2016 World Parkinson Congress, held September 20-23, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

Previous research indicates that both cognitive training1 and tDCS2 alone exert a beneficial effect on measures of cognition in patients with PD; however their combined efficacy has not been well explored.

In the current study,3 researchers led by Andrea Loftus, PhD, of Curtin University in Perth, Australia, randomly divided 42 participants with PD among 6 treatment groups: standard cognitive training; tailored cognitive training; tDCS; standard cognitive training plus tDCS; tailored cognitive training plus tDCS; or a placebo-control group. Treatments lasted 4 weeks. Neuropsychological performance was evaluated at baseline, week 5, and week 12.

Compared to the placebo group, patients who received standard CT plus tDCS saw significant improvements in executive function (P <.001), attention/working memory (P =.028), language (P =.008), and activities of daily living (P =.014). Those that received tailored cognitive training plus tDCS saw significant improvements in executive function (P =.024), memory (P <.001), language (P <.001). Those who received tDCS alone saw improvements in attention/working memory (P =.039), and memory (P <.001). Participants who received standard cognitive training alone experienced significant improvements in activities of daily living (P <.001).

Overall, cognitive training and tDCS alone or combined benefit cognition and help improve activities of daily living in patients with PD and MCI.

For more coverage of WPC 2016, go here.


  1. Petrelli A, Kaesberg S, Barbe MT, et al. Effects of cognitive training in Parkinson’s disease: a randomized controlled trial. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2014;20(11):1196-202.
  2. Manenti R, Brambilla M, Benussi A, et al. Mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease is improved by transcranial direct current stimulation combined with physical therapy. Mov Disord. 2016;31(5):715-24.
  3. Lawrence B, Gasson N, Loftus A. Can we remediate mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease? A randomized placebo-controlled trial of cognitive training and transcranial direct current stimulation. Presented at: 2016 World Parkinson Congress. September 20-23, 2016; Portland, OR. Poster 26.10.