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Non-invasive brain stimulation improves object-location learning in the elderly


Flöel, Agnes, Suttorp, Wiebke, Kohl, Oliver, Kürten, Julia, Lohmann, Hubertus, Breitenstein, Caterina, Knecht, Stefan


Neurobiology Of Aging, Volume: 33, No.: 8, Pages.: 1682-1689

Year of Publication



Remembering the location of objects, an integral part of everyday life, is known to decline with advancing age and early in the course of neurodegenerative dementia. Here, we aimed to test if object-location learning and its retention could be modified by noninvasive brain stimulation. In a group of 20 elderly (mean age 62.1 years) right-handed individuals, we applied transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS; 20 minutes, 1 mA) over the right temporoparietal cortex, while subjects acquired the correct position of buildings on a street map using an associative learning paradigm. Each subject participated in a randomized and balanced order in 1 session of anodal tDCS and 1 session of sham stimulation, in a double-blind design with 2 parallel versions of the task. Outcome measures were learning success at the end of each session, and immediate as well as delayed (1 week) free recall. We found that subjects performed comparably in the learning task in the 2 conditions, but showed improved recall 1 week after learning with anodal tDCS compared with learning with sham stimulation. In conclusion, retention of object-location learning in the elderly may be modulated by noninvasive brain stimulation, a finding of potential relevance not only for normal aging but also for memory deficits in pathological aging.; Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bibtex Citation

@article{Fl_el_2012, doi = {10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.05.007}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {aug}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {33}, number = {8}, pages = {1682--1689}, author = {Agnes Flöel and Wiebke Suttorp and Oliver Kohl and Julia Kürten and Hubertus Lohmann and Caterina Breitenstein and Stefan Knecht}, title = {Non-invasive brain stimulation improves object-location learning in the elderly}, journal = {Neurobiology of Aging} }


female, humans, learning, magnetic, male, methods, middle aged, pattern recognition visual, physiology, space perception, spatial behavior, stimulation, task performance and analysis, transcranial, transcranial magnetic stimulation, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Study

Cohort Study

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment, Risk Factor Modification

Risk Factor Modifications

General population health promotion

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions