Direct current neuromodulation in healthy elderly: a systematic review

1Lucas Pereira dos Santos; 1Maria Carolina de Carvalho Sousa; 1Hemily Gabriely Bastos da Silva Quental; 1Gabriel Campelo Sotero; 1Ana Carolina Martins Monteiro Silva; 1Paloma Cavalcante Bezerra de Medeiros

1Universidade Federal do Delta do Parnaíba

OBJECTIVE: Analyze the effects on TDCS in cognitive skills in healthy elderly people.

METHODS: Based on recommendations proposed by the Cochrane Collaboration, articles from 2015 to 2019 were searched in six electronic databases: PsycInfo, Pepsic, Cochrane, Lilacs, Scielo and PubMed, following seven eligibility criteria, with the combination of some words: transcranial direct current stimulation and elderly; cognitive stimulation and elderly; neuromodulation and elderly.

RESULTS: Among the 801 publications identified, only seven were included in the analysis. The results show positive effects in the strengthening of recent episodic memories, increase in learning curves and improvements in working memory and cognitive performance. No significant effects were found for executive function. There were no serious side effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the studies are restricted to few cognitive functions and are inconsistent with each other due to heterogeneity of the protocols and small samples, the clinical outcomes suggest that the TDCS proved to be efficient in terms of the cognitive domains that were proposed intervence. However, research on the effectiveness of the technique is far from conclusive.

KEYWORDS: Elderly; Neuromodulation; systematic review