Last updated on August 2019

Targeted Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Improve Hippocampal-dependent Declarative Memory Abilities

Brief description of study

The investigators propose a pilot study of the potential for non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to improve memory in healthy adults (young and old) and to treat memory deficits in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). aMCI is a condition that frequently precedes Alzheimer's disease (AD), and a key symptom of aMCI is clinically significant memory loss (i.e., rapid forgetting) greater than expected for age. The investigators will test whether a form of non-invasive brain stimulation repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can improve memory abilities in healthy young adults, healthy older adults, and older adults with aMCI by retuning memory-related brain networks. This study's specific aims are to: 1) Measure changes in declarative memory performance after treatment with targeted rTMS; 2) Measure modulation of functional brain networks after treatment with targeted rTMS. To achieve these aims, the investigators will recruit participants from a standing registry and other sources, test their memory abilities, apply rTMS to a specific brain region, and then test their memory abilities again. As a control, all participants will receive sham rTMS that does not stimulate the brain in one of the two phases of participation. By testing whether real rTMS improves memory abilities more than sham rTMS, the investigators will determine whether rTMS can reliably improve memory in the populations of interest. Also, the investigators will measure changes in brain activity before and after stimulation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). This study is a key first step which will support the investigators' long-term goal of treating memory deficits in neurological patients. The investigators expect that rTMS will improve memory abilities in all participants, and that the improvements in memory will be attributable to changes in the connectivity of memory-related brain networks. This study has clear clinical and translational relevance because it adapts a novel technique addressing a key symptom of AD to new populations. The investigators expect that the findings will improve the field's understanding of memory loss in healthy aging, aMCI, and AD.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03574207

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