Effect of transcranial direct current stimulation combined with cognitive training on cognitive functioning in older adults with HIV: A pilot study

Academic Article


  • The objective of this study was to examine combination speed of processing (SOP) cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) and transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) as neurorehabilitation in older HIV+ adults. Thirty-three HIV+ adults aged 50+ completed neurocognitive testing and were randomized to either active (n = 17) or sham (n = 16) tDCS. Both conditions received 10 1-hour sessions of SOP CRT, with either active or sham tDCS for the first 20 minutes. Participants then completed a posttest assessment. Repeated measures analysis of variance examining Time X Condition showed small-to-medium effects in the expected direction for an executive (d = 0.36), and SOP measure (d = 0.49), while medium-to-large effects were observed for an executive/attention (d = 0.60) and oral reading measure (d = 0.75). The only statistically significant interaction was the oral reading measure. Small-to-medium and medium-to-large effects (ds = 0.32, 0.58) were found for two SOP measures in the opposite direction (sham group showing greater improvements). Further trials of CRT and tDCS in this population are needed, including larger samples and a nonactive control and tDCS only condition, as is determination of which parameters of each technique (e.g., tDCS montage, timing of tDCS, domain targeted in CRT, number of sessions) are most effective in improving cognitive outcomes, durability of training gains, and translation to everyday functioning.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fazeli PL; Woods AJ; Pope CN; Vance DE; Ball KK
  • Start Page

  • 36
  • End Page

  • 47
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 1