tDCS on Parkinson's Disease Cognition (tDCS-PD-fMRI)

  • End date
    Aug 20, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Manitoba
Updated on 20 April 2022
cognitive impairment
transcranial direct current stimulation
cholinesterase inhibitors
cognitive disorder
brain stimulation
motor symptoms
cognitive assessment
movement disorder


Parkinson's disease (PD) has been classically regarded as a "movement disorder", so earlier work has focused on treating motor symptoms only. As PD patients now have longer life expectancy, the relatively slowly progressing cognitive deficits (compared to their motor deficits) have become one of the major challenges. Approximately 80% of PD patients eventually become demented. Therefore cognitive dysfunction is one of the most significant factors affecting the quality of life of patients with PD. While dementia in Parkinson's disease is routinely treated by cholinesterase inhibitors (e.g., donepezil and rivastigmine), their efficacy on mild cognitive impairment found in non-demented PD is questionable. Alternative approaches have been proposed including transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) but no consensus has been reached. This can be attributed mainly to: (1) imprecise knowledge of the underlying functional circuitry mediating this disease manifestation and (2) inter-individual variability. Here, the investigators will utilize a novel personalized network analysis approach to elucidate on the underlying mechanisms of the effect of tDCS on cognitive dysfunction in non-demented PD patients.

It has been well documented that the caudate nucleus plays an important role in cognitive dysfunction found in PD. In the investigators' preliminary resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, they have shown that the connectivity of the right caudate nucleus is correlated to cognitive status of PD patients measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). The investigators hypothesize that tDCS on the left and/or right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may restore the functional connectivity of the right caudate nucleus which may in turn improve patients' cognitive performance.

Condition Parkinson Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment
Treatment Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, High-Definition Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03025334
SponsorUniversity of Manitoba
Last Modified on20 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients must meet diagnostic criteria for idiopathic Parkinson's disease, defined as the presence of two or more of the cardinal clinical features of PD in the absence of known causes of parkinsonism such as encephalitis or neuroleptic treatment
Ability to provide written informed consent
defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; DSM-5)
Age > 40
fluent in English
Patients' cognitive statuses will be evaluated by the participating neuropsychiatrist or a trained psychiatry or neurology resident

Exclusion Criteria

Patients with dementia (defined as a Montreal Cognitive Assessment score < 18)
Atypical parkinsonian features including myoclonus, apraxia, oculomotor abnormalities, ataxia, sensory loss, or pyramidal signs
Abnormal MRI
metal implants or a cardiac pacemaker
Pregnant or breastfeeding women (female subjects of child bearing potential will be screened for pregnancy before MRI imaging)
severe dyskinesia that may interfere with the quality of the scan (e.g., dyskinesia involving head movement)
severe hypertension
cardiovascular disease
Patients with a history of seizure, stroke, moderate to severe head injury, high intracranial pressure, severe headaches, or presence of other neurologic disease that may be associated with an altered seizure threshold; or concurrent medication use, such as tricyclic antidepressants, neuroleptic medications, or other drugs that are known to lower seizure threshold
secondary conditions that may significantly alter electrolyte balance or lower seizure threshold
Family history of epilepsy
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