Treating Cognitive Deficits in MS With Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: Leigh Charvet, PhD


The professor of neurology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine discussed her presentation at ACTRIMS Forum 2022, which showed better cognitive outcomes in MS following treatment with tDCS. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"Dosing optimization is key for the field. Not only do we want to know how many sessions, how much training, or how much stimulation you need to get the benefit, but also to maintain the benefit, because that’s what’s most important in the end. We really need more research."

A change in cognitive function or cognitive dysfunction is common in multiple sclerosis (MS), with more than half of those with MS expected to develop problems with cognition. These include changes in information processing, memory, attention and concentration, executive functions, visuospatial functions, and verbal fluency. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive stimulation treatment that uses direct electrical currents to stimulate parts of the brain, has been viewed as a potential therapeutic outlet to counteract cognitive deficits.

A randomized controlled study presented at Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2022, held February 24-26, in West Palm Beach, Florida, looked at cognitive outcomes of tDCS paired with an online adaptive cognitive training. Relative to the sham group (n = 51), those on active tDCS (n = 55) demonstrated greater improvement in the change of Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS (BICAMS) score after 6 weeks of daily sessions.

Although tDCS is still in experimental form of brain stimulation, it potentially has several advantages over other brain stimulation techniques. NeurologyLive® caught up with lead author Leigh Charvet, PhD, professor of neurology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, to get her thoughts on the study itself, the results she observed, and the additional benefits this approach may bring the MS population. She also discussed whether there have been plateauing effects observed and why treatment optimization remains the next step.

For more coverage of ACTRIMS Forum 2022, click here.

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