Effectiveness of transcranial direct current stimulation in the management of Alzheimer’s disease: a meta-analysis of studies
Vrinda Saxena 1, Arghya Pal 2*
1Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, 2All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebareli
Received: February 10, 2021; Revised: March 5, 2021; Accepted: March 5, 2021; Published online: March 5, 2021.
© The Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of novel brain stimulating method that has attracted interest owing to its relative inexpensiveness and ease of administration. It has been evaluated in many studies for its effectiveness in improving cognitive symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, our understanding regarding its efficacy and the most effective way of administering tDCS (in terms of lead placement to achieve response and prevent harmful consequences) is still evolving. The current meta-analysis was conducted to resolve the above issues.
A search using appropriate keywords and Medical subject headings was conducted on PubMed, Scopus and DOAJ database. Studies were analysed on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. finally 11 studies were included for quantitative analysis from 1021 obtained from initial search.
All the studies included were methodologically of high quality, though an asymmetrical funnel plot raised the possibility of publication bias. tDCS was found to significantly improve the scores on cognition as compared to sham. Anodal tDCS was found to be significantly beneficial in this regards, whereas cathodal and dual stimulation were not. There were no significant difference in the number of drop-outs and adverse reaction in tDCS and sham group.
The quality of evidence that we have reviewed in this study is robust. tDCS, particularly Anodal tDCS is an effective treatment modality in AD. It is well tolerated in patients with AD. However, further studies are warranted to probe the role of tDCS in other domains of AD.
Keywords: Transcranial direct current stimulation, Alzheimer’s disease, Major Neurocognitive disorder, Brain stimulation, Meta-analysis