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Gamma Induction for Alzheimer's Disease


This study will test the effects of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) on levels of Alzheimer's-related proteins in adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Researchers are investigating whether the stimulation of gamma brain waves will decrease the amount of amyloid and tau and improve memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer's disease.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
45 Years N/A All No
August 5, 2019
November 2023

  • Diagnosis of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease
  • Mini-Mental State Examination score of 18 or more
  • Clinical Dementia Rating score of 0.5 or more
  • Demonstration or history of memory impairments
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) showing positive amyloid status
  • If on medications for memory loss (e.g., donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine, memantine), must be on same dose for at least 6 weeks
  • Minimum 8th grade education
  • No history of intellectual disability

  • Poorly controlled migraines, including taking medication regularly for migraine prevention
  • History of neurological disorder other than dementia, such as epilepsy, stroke, progressive neurologic disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis), or intracranial brain lesions
  • Previous neurosurgery or head trauma that resulted in neurologic impairment
  • Noncortical disease such as confluence white matter changes (including lacunar infarcts less than 1 cm)
  • History of major depression, bipolar disorder, or any other psychotic or major psychiatric condition
  • Unable to receive transcranial stimulation or undergo magnetic resonance imaging, including metal implants, pacemaker, medication pump, nerve stimulator, ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and cochlear implant
  • Radiation exposure for research within past year that, with PET imaging, would be above allowable limits
  • History of fainting spells of unknown or undetermined cause
  • History of seizures, diagnosis of epilepsy, abnormal electroencephalogram, or 1st-degree relative with epilepsy
  • Uncontrolled medical conditions that may cause a medical emergency in case of a provoked seizure (e.g., heart malformation or dysrhythmia, asthma)
  • Substance abuse or dependence in past 6 months
  • Medications will be reviewed by the study doctor
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding (premenopausal females must have a pregnancy test)
  • Hair style or head dress that prevents electrode contact with the scalp or would interfere with the stimulation

tACS is a noninvasive method of applying weak electrical current to the brain. Electrodes are placed into a cap worn on the head and a weak electrical current travels back and forth through the electrodes to the head. Participants will be randomly assigned to multiple 1-hour sessions daily of either active or sham stimulation for 2 or 4 weeks. Before and after the stimulation, participants will undergo assessments and tests to gauge their physical health, memory and thinking skills, and biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's disease, including PET scans for amyloid and tau.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston Massachusetts 02215 Recruiting Nainika Grover

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
Emiliano Santarnecchi, PhD Principal Investigator Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Name Phone Email
Luke Pezanko, MA 617-667-0386
Molly O'Reilly, MA 617-667-0249


Gamma Induction for Amyloid Clearance in Alzheimer's Disease