Primary outcome from the augmenting cognitive training in older adults study (ACT): A tDCS and cognitive training randomized clinical trial

Hanna K. Hausman, Gene E. Alexander, Ronald Cohen, Michael Marsiske, Steven T. DeKosky, Georg A. Hishaw, Andrew O'Shea, Jessica N. Kraft, Yunfeng Dai, Samuel Wu, Adam J. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: There is a need for effective interventions to stave off cognitive decline in older adults. Cognitive training has variably produced gains in untrained tasks and daily functioning. Combining cognitive training with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may augment cognitive training effects; however, this approach has yet to be tested on a large-scale. Objective: This paper will present the primary findings of the Augmenting Cognitive Training in Older Adults (ACT) clinical trial. We hypothesize that receiving active stimulation with cognitive training will result in greater improvements on an untrained fluid cognition composite compared to sham following intervention. Methods: 379 older adults were randomized, and 334 were included in intent-to-treat analyses for a 12-week multidomain cognitive training and tDCS intervention. Active or sham tDCS was administered at F3/F4 during cognitive training daily for two weeks then weekly for 10 weeks. To assess the tDCS effect, we fitted regression models for changes in NIH Toolbox Fluid Cognition Composite scores immediately following intervention and one year from baseline controlling for covariates and baseline scores. Results: Across the entire sample, there were improvements in NIH Toolbox Fluid Cognition Composite scores immediately post-intervention and one year following baseline; however, there were no significant tDCS group effects at either timepoint. Conclusions: The ACT study models rigorous, safe administration of a combined tDCS and cognitive training intervention in a large sample of older adults. Despite potential evidence of near-transfer effects, we failed to demonstrate an additive benefit of active stimulation. Future analyses will continue to assess the intervention's efficacy by examining additional measures of cognition, functioning, mood, and neural markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-917
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Stimulation
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2023

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Cognitive training
  • Intervention
  • Older adults
  • tDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology

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