Augmenting Cognitive Training In Older Adults

Conditions:Healthy Studies
Therapuetic Areas:Other
Age Range:65 - 89
Start Date:August 8, 2017
End Date:August 2022
Contact:Adam Woods, Ph.D.

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A two-phase adaptive randomized clinical trial will examine the individual and combined
impact of pairing cognitive training with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
tDCS is a method of non-invasive brain stimulation that directly stimulates brain regions
involved in active cognitive function and could enhance neural plasticity when paired with a
training task. We will compare changes in cognitive and brain function resulting from CT and
ET combined with tDCS using a comprehensive neurocognitive, clinical, and multimodal
neuroimaging assessment of brain structure, function, and metabolic state. Functional
magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) will be used to assess brain response during working
memory, attention, and memory encoding; the active cognitive abilities trained by CT. Proton
magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) will assess cerebral metabolites, including GABA
concentrations sensitive to neural plasticity. We hypothesize that: 1) tDCS will enhance
neurocognitive function, brain function, and functional outcomes from CT, with combined CT
and tDCS providing the most benefit; 2) Effects of tDCS on CT will be maintained up to 12
months following training, and 3) Neuroimaging biomarkers of cerebral metabolism, neural
plasticity (GABA concentrations) and functional brain response (FMRI) during resting vs.
active cognitive tasks will predict individual response to tDCS.

Inclusion criteria:

1. Age 65 to 89 years; this age group was selected because it is at high risk of
age-related cognitive decline and have a sufficiently long life expectancy to
participate in the study.

2. Evidence of age-related cognitive decline in the Cognitive Training assessment defined
by performance below the 80th percentile.

3. Ability to participate in the intervention and attend training sessions; willingness
to be randomized to either treatment group.

Exclusion criteria:

1. Neurological disorders (e.g., dementia, stroke, seizures, traumatic brain injury).

2. Evidence of cognitive impairment (as defined by NACC UDS performance below 1.5
standard deviations on age/sex/education normative data in at least one cognitive

3. Past opportunistic brain infection.

4. Major psychiatric illness (schizophrenia, intractable affective disorder, current
substance dependence diagnosis or severe major depression and/or suicidality.

5. Unstable (e.g., cancer other than basal cell skin) and chronic (e.g. severe diabetes)
medical conditions.

6. MRI contraindications (e.g., claustrophobia, metal implants).

7. Physical impairment precluding motor response or lying still for 1 hr and inability to
walk two blocks without stopping.

8. Currently on GABA-ergic or glutamatergic medications, or on sodium channel blockers.

9. Left-handedness.
We found this trial at
Gainesville, Florida 32610
Principal Investigator: Adam J. Woods, PhD
Gainesville, FL
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Gainesville, Florida 32606
Gainesville, FL
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Tucson, Arizona 85721
(520) 621-2211
University of Arizona The University of Arizona is a premier, public research university. Established in...
Tucson, AZ
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