The impact of a tDCS and cognitive training intervention on task-based functional connectivity

Jessica N. Kraft, Aprinda Indahlastari, Emanuel M. Boutzoukas, Hanna K. Hausman, Cheshire Hardcastle, Alejandro Albizu, Andrew O’Shea, Nicole D. Evangelista, Emily J. Van Etten, Pradyumna K. Bharadwaj, Hyun Song, Samantha G. Smith, Steven T. DeKosky, Georg A. Hishaw, Samuel Wu, Michael Marsiske, Ronald Cohen, Gene E. Alexander, Eric Porges, Adam J. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Declines in several cognitive domains, most notably processing speed, occur in non-pathological aging. Given the exponential growth of the older adult population, declines in cognition serve as a significant public health issue that must be addressed. Promising studies have shown that cognitive training in older adults, particularly using the useful field of view (UFOV) paradigm, can improve cognition with moderate to large effect sizes. Additionally, meta-analyses have found that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a non-invasive form of brain stimulation, can improve cognition in attention/processing speed and working memory. However, only a handful of studies have looked at concomitant tDCS and cognitive training, usually with short interventions and small sample sizes. The current study assessed the effect of a tDCS (active versus sham) and a 3-month cognitive training intervention on task-based functional connectivity during completion of the UFOV task in a large older adult sample (N = 153). We found significant increased functional connectivity between the left and right pars triangularis (the ROIs closest to the electrodes) following active, but not sham tDCS. Additionally, we see trending behavioral improvements associated with these functional connectivity changes in the active tDCS group, but not sham. Collectively, these findings suggest that tDCS and cognitive training can be an effective modulator of task-based functional connectivity above and beyond a cognitive training intervention alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3325-3339
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Cognitive training
  • Functional connectivity
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation
  • UFOV
  • tDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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