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Repetitive TMS for Alzheimer’s Disease Alters Brain Waves & Enhances Cognition (2024 Study)

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is making waves in the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, offering a glimmer of hope for enhancing cognitive functions in patients.

By targeting specific brain regions, rTMS has shown promising results in modulating neural activity and improving cognitive scores.

This innovative therapy, coupled with real-time monitoring through electroencephalography (EEG), presents a significant leap forward in AD treatment strategies.


  1. rTMS for Alzheimer’s Disease: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is emerging as a promising therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, targeting neural networks to improve cognitive functions.
  2. EEG Monitoring: The integration of EEG allows for the real-time monitoring of brain activities and cognitive effects immediately following rTMS treatment.
  3. Visual & Cognitive Enhancements: Studies indicate that rTMS can lead to significant changes in visual-evoked potentials (VEP) and visual event-related potentials (VERP), markers of cognitive processing in the brain.
  4. Potential for Application: The positive outcomes of rTMS in AD patients underscore its potential as a valuable addition to current treatment modalities, paving the way for broader applications in cognitive enhancement therapies.

Source: CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics (2024)

Therapeutic Potential of TMS in Alzheimer’s Disease with EEG Analysis

The integration of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) with Electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring heralds a new era in the treatment and understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

This innovative approach not only offers a non-invasive method to potentially improve cognitive functions in AD patients but also provides a real-time window into the brain’s response to treatment.

1. Enhancing Cognitive Functions

Targeted Cognitive Improvement: TMS can modulate specific neural networks associated with cognitive functions impaired in AD, such as memory, attention, and executive functions. By targeting these networks, TMS has the potential to directly improve the symptoms that impact the quality of life of AD patients.

Personalized Treatment Protocols: The ability of EEG to monitor brain activity in real-time during TMS sessions allows for the optimization of stimulation parameters for individual patients, potentially enhancing treatment efficacy.

2. Advancing Diagnostic & Monitoring Capabilities

Real-time Brain Activity Monitoring: EEG monitoring during TMS sessions provides immediate feedback on how the brain responds to stimulation. This could lead to the identification of biomarkers that predict treatment response, facilitating early and personalized intervention strategies.

Disease Progression Insights: Continuous monitoring of brain activity changes in response to TMS can offer insights into the progression of AD and the neuroplastic changes associated with the disease, contributing to a deeper understanding of its pathophysiology.

3. Research & Development Opportunities

Exploring Neuroplastic Mechanisms: The combination of TMS and EEG offers a unique opportunity to study the mechanisms of neuroplasticity in the AD brain. Understanding how TMS influences brain connectivity and plasticity could reveal new therapeutic targets and strategies.

Broadening Application to Early Stages of AD: Investigating the effects of TMS in the early stages of AD, or even in preclinical stages, could open up possibilities for delaying the onset or slowing the progression of the disease through early intervention.

4. Clinical & Therapeutic Implications

Complementary Therapy: TMS, used alongside current pharmacological treatments, could provide a complementary approach that addresses the limitations of medication alone, such as side effects and variability in efficacy.

Non-pharmacological Alternative: For patients who cannot tolerate medication due to side effects or contraindications, TMS offers a non-pharmacological alternative that could improve cognitive function without the use of drugs.

Major Findings: TMS in Alzheimer’s Disease & Brain Activity (2024)

Halil Aziz Velioglu et al. evaluated the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on brain activity and cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

1. Cognitive Improvements

Clock Drawing Scores

There was a statistically significant improvement in clock drawing scores from pre-rTMS (mean = 1.76, SD = 1.68) to post-rTMS (mean = 2.35, SD = 1.5), with a p-value of 0.031.

This enhancement indicates improved spatial and executive functions, crucial in daily cognitive tasks.

Visual Recognition Memory Scores

Similarly, visual recognition memory scores showed an improvement from pre-rTMS (mean = 1.28, SD = 1.23) to post-rTMS (mean = 1.94, SD = 1.55), with a p-value of 0.048.

This suggests an enhanced ability to recognize and recall visual information, an area often impaired in AD patients.

2. Modulation of Brain Activity

VEP Oscillations

A significant decrease in delta power within the 0–600 ms time range post-rTMS (F = 4.942, p = 0.042, ηp^2 = 0.248) was observed, indicating a modulation of sensory processing activities in the brain.

This reduction was predominantly noted in the central, temporoparietal, parietal, and occipital regions, suggesting targeted modulation of brain activity in areas crucial for visual processing.

VERP Oscillations

An increase in theta activity for non-target stimuli in the oddball paradigm post-rTMS (F = 8.288, p = 0.012, ηp^2 = 0.372) was found.

This change was notable across all brain regions, excluding the frontal area.

The enhancement in theta power reflects an improvement in cognitive processing related to attention and memory, critical components affected in AD.

3. Region-Specific Effects

The findings underscore the region-specific effects of rTMS, with significant alterations in delta and theta oscillations in the central, temporoparietal, parietal, and occipital regions but not the frontal area.

This specificity could point to the potential of rTMS to target and modulate specific neural circuits involved in AD pathology.

4. Changes in Brain Waves

Within the detailed analysis of the findings from the study on rTMS treatment in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients, a significant focus was placed on the changes observed in brain wave patterns, specifically the delta and theta oscillations.

Delta Brain Waves Decrease

The significant decrease in delta power, especially in the central, temporoparietal, parietal, and occipital regions, following rTMS treatment, may indicate a reduction in cortical hyperexcitability or an improvement in the brain’s resting state.

In AD, excessive delta activity can be a marker of neuronal dysfunction and cognitive decline.

Therefore, the observed reduction could reflect a normalization of brain activity, contributing to improved cognitive performance and potentially slowing disease progression.

Theta Brain Waves Increase

Conversely, the increase in theta power, particularly noted in response to non-target stimuli in the oddball paradigm, suggests enhanced cognitive processing capabilities.

Theta waves are often associated with memory encoding and retrieval, attention, and internal focus. An increase in theta activity could therefore signify an improvement in these cognitive domains, which are typically compromised in AD patients.

This enhancement might result from rTMS-induced neuroplasticity, facilitating better cognitive function through strengthened neural connections or increased synaptic efficacy.

Effects of TMS in Alzheimer’s Disease: Brain Activity (2024 Study)

The study aimed to assess whether rTMS could modulate brain activities as evidenced by alterations in VEP and VERP oscillations, and to determine if these changes correlate with cognitive improvements in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).


  • Participants: The study recruited 16 AD patients, including 12 women, based on diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease. Exclusion criteria included a history of alcohol/substance addiction, prior traumatic brain injury, serious stroke, or other neurological diseases with lasting sequelae.
  • Procedure: The study was a longitudinal analysis where EEG data were collected within a Faraday cage both pre- and post-rTMS sessions to evaluate the impact on potentials. The rTMS targeted the left lateral parietal cortex, determined using seed-based correlation functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis. Treatments consisted of 10 sessions, with 1640 pulses each, over 2 weeks.
  • EEG Data Acquisition & Analysis: EEG recordings were made using a BrainAmp amplifier DC system, adhering to the international 10–20 system. The data were then segregated into VEP and VERP records, with subsequent preprocessing and analyses conducted to assess changes in delta and theta band activities.


  • Cognitive Improvements: Post-rTMS, there was an improvement in cognitive scores, including enhancements in clock drawing and visual recognition memory scores.
  • VEP & VERP Oscillations: Significant alterations were observed in the oscillations of both VEP and VERP. Specifically, there was a notable decrease in delta power in VEP and an increase in theta power in VERP post-rTMS. These changes were indicative of a modulation of brain activities.
  • Brain Regions Affected: The reduction in delta band activity was primarily observed in the central, temporoparietal, parietal, and occipital regions. Conversely, increased theta activity in response to non-target stimuli in the oddball paradigm was seen across all brain regions, except the frontal area.


  • Small Sample Size: The research involved only 16 participants, limiting the generalizability of the results.
  • Retrospective Design: The study’s retrospective nature may not provide as robust evidence as prospective research designs.
  • Lack of Control Group: Without a control group, attributing the observed changes directly to rTMS without considering other potential influences remains challenging.
  • Short-term Follow-up: The study focused on immediate post-treatment outcomes, lacking long-term follow-up to assess the durability of the cognitive improvements and brain activity changes.

Challenges & Considerations

  • Optimization of Treatment Parameters: Identifying the most effective TMS protocols—such as frequency, intensity, and duration of treatment—remains a challenge and requires further research.
  • Long-term Effects & Sustainability: Understanding the long-term effects of TMS on cognitive functions and brain activity in AD patients is crucial for determining its sustainability as a treatment option.

What do the results suggest?

These detailed findings provide compelling evidence of the positive effects of rTMS on modulating brain activities and improving cognitive functions in AD patients.

The observed changes in VEP and VERP oscillations post-rTMS treatment not only signify a modulation of sensory and cognitive processing activities in the brain but also correlate with tangible improvements in cognitive scores.

The improvement in cognitive functions such as spatial reasoning, executive function, and memory recall underscores the potential of rTMS as a promising non-invasive therapeutic intervention for AD.

The specificity of the modulation effects in certain brain regions highlights the precision with which rTMS can be utilized to target neural circuits implicated in AD, offering a tailored approach to treatment.

Overall, these findings enrich our understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the cognitive improvements seen in AD patients following rTMS treatment.

They pave the way for future research to optimize treatment protocols and explore long-term benefits, potentially transforming the management of Alzheimer’s Disease through neuromodulation therapies.

TMS Protocol for Alzheimer’s Patients: Specifics & Rationale

The study utilized a specific repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol designed to target the left lateral parietal cortex in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients.

TMS Protocol Specifics

  • Target Area: The protocol focused on stimulating the left lateral parietal cortex, a brain region implicated in various cognitive functions, including spatial attention and memory processing. This choice is based on evidence suggesting its involvement in the cognitive deficits characteristic of AD.
  • Stimulation Parameters: Treatment sessions involved 1640 pulses per session, delivered over 2 weeks for a total of 10 sessions. This intensity and duration were selected to induce long-term potentiation (LTP)-like effects in the brain, believed to facilitate neuroplastic changes conducive to cognitive improvement.
  • Frequency: The protocol likely employed a high-frequency stimulation (above 1 Hz), as this is typically used to enhance cortical excitability and has been shown to have pro-cognitive effects. High-frequency rTMS is known to increase cortical activity and promote brain plasticity.

Rationale Behind the Protocol

  • Enhancing Cognitive Function: The rationale for targeting the left lateral parietal cortex and using a high-frequency stimulation approach is grounded in the goal of enhancing cognitive functions specifically impaired in AD. High-frequency rTMS has been associated with improvements in executive function, attention, and memory, areas where AD patients exhibit significant deficits.
  • Promoting Neuroplasticity: The stimulation parameters were chosen to maximize the potential for neuroplastic changes in the brain. By applying a sufficient number of pulses over an extended period, the protocol aims to encourage synaptic strengthening and the formation of new neural connections, potentially counteracting the neural degradation seen in AD.
  • Tailored Intervention: Selecting the left lateral parietal cortex as the stimulation target was based on evidence from neuroimaging studies highlighting its critical role in cognitive processes affected by AD. This tailored approach ensures that the stimulation is directed at brain regions most likely to yield beneficial effects in terms of cognitive enhancement.
  • Evidence-Based Design: The protocol’s design reflects a synthesis of current research findings on rTMS efficacy and brain stimulation in neurodegenerative diseases. By integrating these insights, the protocol seeks to offer a non-invasive, targeted, and effective intervention for cognitive enhancement in AD patients.

Conclusion: TMS in Alzheimer’s Disease

The study on the application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in conjunction with electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring presents a promising frontier in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

By demonstrating significant cognitive improvements and modulation of brain activities, this research underscores the potential of rTMS as a non-invasive therapeutic tool for enhancing cognitive functions in AD patients.

The observed alterations in visual-evoked potentials (VEP) and visual event-related potentials (VERP) provide critical insights into the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these improvements.

Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of personalized treatment protocols, optimized through real-time EEG monitoring, in maximizing the efficacy of rTMS.

While the findings offer substantial hope for AD treatment, they also pave the way for future research aimed at optimizing stimulation parameters and exploring long-term effects.

In sum, this study represents a significant step towards developing more effective, targeted, and personalized therapeutic strategies for managing Alzheimer’s Disease.


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