Acute and Chronic effects of Transcranial Direct Current stimulation in Lewy body dementia patients: a pilot study  (ACDC Study)


James Ashcroft 

Greg Elder

John-Paul Taylor

 

In Lewy body dementias (LBDs) complex, recurrent visual hallucinations and problems with how one perceives things visually are common and distressing symptoms. Existing drug treatments for these are often not effective and indeed the side effects from these drugs (especially antipsychotics) can be severe. Therefore there is an urgent need to develop new and effective treatments.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an established, non-invasive and well tolerated technique which is known to alter the activity or excitability levels of the brain (either increase it or decrease it) by the attachment of two soft electrode pads to the scalp which pass low intensity current between them.

In this pilot study we are recruiting people with LBD with moderate to severe hallucinations to a pilot double blind randomised control trial of tDCS where they will either receive active tDCS or placebo treatment over the course of several days. They will undergo baseline assessments of their function and visual hallucination severity and will be followed up immediately after their treatment and then at one month and at three months to see if there are any sustained treatment benefits.

In the proposed study we will recruit LBD patients with moderate to severe hallucinations to a pilot double blind randomised control trial of tDCS where they will either receive active tDCS or placebo treatment over the course of several days. They will undergo baseline assessments of their function and visual hallucination severity and will be followed up immediately after their treatment and then at one month and at three months to see if there are any sustained treatment benefits.

Even if the study doesn’t show tDCS demonstrates any benefits, our research will still help us understand more about the causes of visual hallucinations in LBD.