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Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia in High Risk Populations: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Combination of Cognitive Remediation and Brain Stimulation

Principal Investigator:
  • Benoit Mulsant, CAMH, University of Toronto
Team Members:
  • Christopher Bowie, Queen's University
  • Daniel Blumberger, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Tarek Rajji, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Aristotle Voineskos, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Linda Mah, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre
  • Mark Rapoport, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Zafiris Daskalakis, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Ariel Graff, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • James Kennedy, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Tiffany Chow, The Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre
  • Kevin Thorpe, University of Toronto
  • Alastair Flint, University Health Network
  • Chagnon Family

Project Overview

This project is studying a novel intervention in 250 older persons whose major depression has been successfully treated with an antidepressant medication: a combination of cognitive remediation (CR, consisting of memory and problem solving exercises) plus transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS, a non-painful low electrical current that circulates through the brain of awake patients and stimulates their neurons). The team hypothesizes that this intervention will be more beneficial than a control (“placebo”, “sham”) condition in acutely improving cognition and then slowing down its decline over time, and in preventing the onset of MCI or AD. In addition, this project will conduct a series of laboratory tests (for example neuroimaging or genetic testing) to understand better how AD and depression are linked and how CR plus tDCS works in improving cognition in older persons with depression. If CR plus tDCS is indeed beneficial in older persons with major depression, then it can be tested in the general population or in other non-depressed populations at high risk for AD.