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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2012, Article ID 687909, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/687909
Review Article

Effect of Transcranial Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Alzheimer Disease: A Review

1Department of Neurology, Christian Doppler Clinic, Paracelsus Medical University, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
2Department of Neurology, Franz Tappeiner Hospital, Via Rossini 5, 39012 Meran/o, Italy
3Neuroscience Institute, Christian Doppler Clinic, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
4Department of Physiology, Medical University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria

Received 30 July 2011; Accepted 26 August 2011

Academic Editor: Anil Nair

Copyright © 2012 Raffaele Nardone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Available pharmacological treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD) have limited effectiveness, are expensive, and sometimes induce side effects. Therefore, alternative or complementary adjuvant therapeutic strategies have gained increasing attention. The development of novel noninvasive methods of brain stimulation has increased the interest in neuromodulatory techniques as potential therapeutic tool for cognitive rehabilitation in AD. In particular, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) are noninvasive approaches that induce prolonged functional changes in the cerebral cortex. Several studies have begun to therapeutically use rTMS or tDCS to improve cognitive performances in patients with AD. However, most of them induced short-duration beneficial effects and were not adequately powered to establish evidence for therapeutic efficacy. Therefore, TMS and tDCS approaches, seeking to enhance cognitive function, have to be considered still very preliminary. In future studies, multiple rTMS or tDCS sessions might also interact, and metaplasticity effects could affect the outcome.