Supporting auditory word recognition with tDCS

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Supporting auditory word recognition with transcranial direct current stimulation: effects in elderly individuals with and without objective memory complaints.

Healthy elderly people often experience a subjective loss of daily memory performance whereas an objective decrease in memory performance is often observed in patients with memory complaints. In this paper, we investigate the influence of a single session of “anodal” transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) on auditory word recognition performance in a decision time experiment. Three groups of participants (>64 years of age) with and without memory complaints underwent a word recognition task, in which they had to recognize words previously encoded among several distractors (semantically or phonologically related words) via a button press. In this double-blinded study, the participants completed two sessions (sham/a-tDCS), counterbalanced between subjects with a washout period of at least 10 days. Twenty minutes of 1.5 mA a-tDCS was applied over the left temporal cortex during the memorizing and decision phases. Overall, our results demonstrated that the participants, independent of their memory performance, were faster in word recognition during a-tDCS. As expected, older participants with memory complaints recognized significantly less words correctly compared to other participants. However, tDCS did not have a beneficial effect on the extent of successful word recognition. These results suggest a general effect of a single session of a-tDCS over the left temporal cortex, with participants becoming faster in their word recognition, thus having easier access to encoded words.

PMID: 33432880 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2021 Jan 12;:1-23

Authors: Balduin-Philipps LS, Weiss S, Mueller H