Neurostimulation in Alzheimer’s disease: From basic research to clinical applications

Raffaele Nardone*, Yvonne Höller, Frediano Tezzon, Monica Christova, Kerstin Schwenker, Stefan Golaszewski, Eugen Trinka, Francesco Brigo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The development of different methods of brain stimulation provides a promising therapeutic tool with potentially beneficial effects on subjects with impaired cognitive functions. We performed a systematic review of the studies published in the field of neurostimulation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), from basic research to clinical applications. The main methods of non-invasive brain stimulation are repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. Preliminary findings have suggested that both techniques can enhance performances on several cognitive functions impaired in AD. Another non-invasive emerging neuromodulatory approach, the transcranial electromagnetic treatment, was found to reverse cognitive impairment in AD transgenic mice and even improves cognitive performance in normal mice. Experimental studies suggest that high-frequency electromagnetic fields may be critically important in AD prevention and treatment through their action at mitochondrial level. Finally, the application of a widely known invasive technique, the deep brain stimulation (DBS), has increasingly been considered as a therapeutic option also for patients with AD; it has been demonstrated that DBS of fornix/hypothalamus and nucleus basalis of Meynert might improve or at least stabilize cognitive functioning in AD. Initial encouraging results provide support for continuing to investigate non-invasive and invasive brain stimulation approaches as an adjuvant treatment for AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Italia.

Other keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • High-frequency electromagnetic field
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation
  • Transcranial electromagnetic treatment


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