In a number of studies, peripheral electrical nerve stimulation has been applied to Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients who lived in a nursing home. Improvements were observed in memory, verbal fluency, affective behavior, activities of daily living and on the rest-activity rhythm and pupillary light reflex. The aim of the present, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical trial was to examine the effects of electrical stimulation on cognition and behavior in AD patients who still live at home. Repeated measures analyses of variance revealed no effects of the intervention in the verum group (n = 32) compared with the placebo group (n = 30) on any of the cognitive and behavioral outcome measures. However, the majority of the patients and the caregivers evaluated the treatment procedure positively, and applying the daily treatment at home caused minimal burden. The lack of treatment effects calls for reconsideration of electrical stimulation as a symptomatic treatment in AD.
van Dijk, K. R. A., Scheltens, P., Luijpen, M. W., Sergeant, J. A., & Scherder, E. J. A. (2005). Peripheral electrical stimulation in Alzheimer's disease - A randomized controlled trial on cognition and behavior. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 19(5-6), 361-368. https://doi.org/10.1159/000084706