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Cortical Stimulation for Mild Cognitive Impairment


This study will test the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a treatment for older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
55 Years 90 Years All No
January 27, 2018
March 2023

  • Diagnosis of MCI
  • Stable medications for at least 4 weeks
  • Geriatric Depression Scale score of less than 6
  • Study partner who can attend clinic visits
  • Visual and hearing ability adequate for neuropsychological testing
  • Good general health with no diseases that could interfere with the study
  • Not pregnant or of childbearing potential
  • Modified Hachinski Ischemic score of 4 or less
  • Ability to respond to TMS
  • Agree to genetic analysis

  • Exposure to rTMS within the past 12 months
  • Magnetic field safety concern, such as a pacemaker; cochlear or brain implant; or metal fragments or foreign objects in the eyes, skin, or body
  • Any significant neurological disease
  • Unstable heart disease or heart attack in past 3 months
  • Any significant systemic illness or unstable medical condition
  • History of epilepsy or repetitive seizures
  • History of a medical condition or current use or abuse of drugs and substances that increase the risk of a seizure, including:
    • Traumatic brain injury within the past 2 months
    • Medications that substantially increase the risk of having seizures, such as theophylline, clozapine, and methylphenidate (must be able to safely withdraw at least 4 weeks prior to baseline)
    • Current or past history of a mass lesion or cerebral infarct
    • Stimulant abuse, such as cocaine, amphetamines, or methylphenidates, within the past 90 days
  • Major depression or bipolar disorder within the past year, or psychotic features within the last 3 months
  • Taking sedative hypnotics or medications with anticholinergic properties, such as Dramamine and Benadryl, and unable to withdraw at least 4 weeks prior to baseline
  • Current alcohol or substance abuse within the past year or greater than moderate alcohol use
  • Inability to undergo magnetic resonance imaging, such as claustrophobia or weight over 350 pounds
  • Participation in another clinical trial at the same time

rTMS is a non-invasive brain stimulation that researchers believe may improve memory in people with MCI. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups with different stimulation sites in the brain or to a control group that will receive inactive rTMS. Treatments will take place during 20 sessions over a 2- to 4-week period. Over a 6-month follow-up period, researchers will track the longer term effects of the stimulation.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Palo Alto California 94304 Recruiting Joshua G Teso, B.A.

Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research

  • National Institute on Aging

Name Role Affiliation
Joy L. Taylor, PhD Principal Investigator Stanford/VA Aging Clinical Center

Name Phone Email
Nicole Strossman 650-852-3457
Joy L. Taylor, PhD 650-493-5000


Noninvasive Cortical Stimulation to Improve Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment