Dr. Mulsant and his team are studying how Alzheimer’s and depression are linked, and how cognitive remediation and transcranial direct current stimulation work in improving cognition in older persons with MCI or depression. If they are beneficial in older persons with major depression, then they can be tested in the general population, or in other non-depressed populations, at high risk for Alzheimer’s. The project is promising and has been extended until June 30, 2022.

The trial reached its recruitment target in August 2018: 375 participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) have been randomized and have initiated the study intervention. Until June 2022, participants will continue to receive the ‘booster’ intervention twice a year and to complete the comprehensive study assessment once a year to determine whether they have progressed and meet criteria for a diagnosis of dementia,” said Dr. Mulsant.

The study continues to proceed successfully despite the COVID-19 crisis: all participants have been contacted by phone and have been offered support by the study staff. As Dr. Mulsant explains: “videoconferencing assessments have been implemented so that both the safety of these vulnerable participants and the scientific integrity of the study can be preserved despite this unprecedented crisis.” Dr. Mulsant and his team believe that, research on brain disorders can and must go on despite COVID-19. “If we do not make progress, Alzheimer’s dementia and other brain disorders will kill more people during the 2020s than COVID-19,” added Dr. Mulsant.