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Transcutaneous Vagal Nerve Stimulation for MCI


This study will test the effects of an experimental treatment, transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation (tVNS), on cognitive performance and memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 89 Years All Yes
January 1, 2018
May 31, 2021

  • Diagnosed with amnestic MCI or mild Alzheimer's disease
  • Preservation of independence in functional abilities
  • Healthy aged adults without MCI to serve as control group

  • Other medical or neurological conditions that could be associated with significant impaired cognition, such as traumatic brain injury or epilepsy
  • Vascular dementia or other neurodegenerative disorder other than Alzheimer's
  • Significant depression
  • Uncorrected vision or hearing loss
  • Unable to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation (tVNS) is a noninvasive method of applying electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve through electrodes placed on the external ear. It has shown improvements in memory when tested in people with epilepsy, but has not been used to treat MCI. In this study participants will be randomly assigned to either tVNS or sham for the first session, then switch to the other condition for a second session after a 1-week washout period. Participants will take cognitive tests and undergo MRI. Researchers will assess changes in memory, cognitive function, and brain activity.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Gainesville Florida 32608 Recruiting

Malcom Randall VA Medical Center
Gainesville Florida 32608 Recruiting

University of Florida
Gainesville Florida 32610 Recruiting Aidan J Murphy, B.A.

University of Florida

  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
John B. Williamson, PhD Principal Investigator University of Florida

Name Phone Email
Aidan J. Murphy 352-548-6000


Treatment of Mild Cognitive Impairment With Transcutaneous Vagal Nerve Stimulation