PUSH Study

PUSH Against Dementia program logo

In this study, we are researching whether Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a promising and safe treatment for MCI symptoms, including changes in memory, thinking skills, and mood. Our hope is that by pairing TMS with brain exercises, we can help patients PUSH against the onset of dementia.

What is MCI?

Woman with MCI

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is the stage between normal, age-related forgetfulness and the more serious decline of dementia. It can include problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment. MCI involves cognitive changes that are serious enough to be noticed but do not affect your ability to carry out everyday activities. Approximately 15% to 20% of people age 65 or older have MCI. 

People living with MCI, especially MCI involving memory problems, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias than people without MCI. Many studies are underway that examine how behavioral interventions such as exercise, social interaction, and brain boosting activities may help slow the progression of memory problems in MCI. In this study, we are testing a type of intervention called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to bring about “neuroplasticity.” 

Lightbulb brain plugged into outlet

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to grow, change, and adapt. Brains create and strengthen pathways as needed or lose those which are no longer used. Our brains are extraordinary! At any age, our brains have the potential to change by strengthening pathways, growing our brains like we would grow our muscles. 

What is TMS?

Man receiving TMS treatment

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells. A magnetic field is generated by a coil in a paddle. This paddle is held against the head to stimulate a specific area of the brain.

The majority of patients report that TMS treatment does not hurt; it feels as if someone is tapping on your head. TMS is an FDA-approved treatment for depression. It has also been shown as a promising treatment for many other conditions. 

Because studies have shown that TMS can induce neuroplasticity, we want to combine it with computerized brain exercises. Our hope is that by pairing TMS with brain exercises, we can help patients PUSH against the onset of dementia. 

TMS is currently not FDA-approved to treat MCI. We hope that the information from this study will help researchers know whether TMS can help with MCI symptoms. If successful, this could open the door to further research on new treatment options for you and other adults with memory impairments. 

What can I expect if I enroll in the PUSH Study? 

The PUSH Study is made up of four phases and includes these procedures:

PUSH Study phases

Who can participate?

If you are between the ages of 65 and 85 years old and have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), you could be eligible to participate in this clinical trial (NCT04503096).