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

Rosa Manenti, Marco Sandrini, Elena Gobbi, Giuliano Binetti, Maria Cotelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Downloads (Pure)


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.

© 2018, The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. The attached document (embargoed until 05/11/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in THE JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY SERIES B uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci.
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018


  • Memory, Episodic
  • memory consolidation
  • tDCS
  • Mild Cognitve Impairment

Cite this