Associate Professor and Assistant Director
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
PhD, George Washington University, Washington, DC
BS, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
College of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Florida
Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory
McKnight Brain Institute
College of Medicine
University of Florida
Cognitive Aging: Cognitive function declines as we age. As our thinking and memory skills decline, the rate of functional dependence, mortality, and acute illness requiring hospitalization increases. A variety of methods have been proposed to counteract cognitive aging (e.g., cognitive training). Unfortunately, these techniques have limited degrees of success and transfer to everyday life. My work demonstrates that combining treatments like cognitive training with non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS, TMS, tACS) facilitates neuroplastic response of brain tissue, improves cognitive abilities (specifically working memory, attention, and speed of processing), and leads to long-term improvement. In combination with modern multimodal neuroimaging and electrophysiology recording, this work not only identifies mechanisms underlying improvement, but also provides information important for further optimizing treatment effectiveness. Dr. Woods is PI of the largest NIH/NIA-funded Phase III tDCS trial, the ACT study. The ACT study investigates benefits of tDCS paired with cognitive training for cognitive and brain function and slowing onset of dementia in older adults.
Methodological Expertise: Non-invasive brain stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)); brain imaging (structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging); magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H and 31P), human electrophysiology (event-related potentials).
Refereed Journal Articles
Nissim N, O’Shea A, Bryant V, Porges E, Cohen R, Woods AJ. (2017). Frontal structural neural correlates of working memory performance in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 8: 328.
O’Shea, A., Cohen, RA, Porges, E.C., Nissim, N., Woods, A.J. (2016). Cognitive aging and the hippocampus in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 8: 298.
Szymkowicz, S.M., McLaren, M.E., Suryadevara, U., Woods, A.J. (2016). The use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders: A brief review. Psychiatric Annals. 46(11): 642-646.
Bikson, M., Grossman, P., Thomas, C., Jiang, J., Adnan, T., Mourdoukoutas, P., Kronberg, G., Troung, D., Boggio, P., Brunoni, A., Charvet, L., Fregni, F., Fritsch, B., Gillick, B., Hamilton, R., Hampstead, B., Jankford, R., Kirton, A., Knotkova, H., Liebetanz, D., Liu, A., Loo, C., Nitsche, M., Richardson, J., Rotenberg, A., Turkeltaub, P., & Woods, A.J. (2016). Safety of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): evidence based update 2016. Brain Stimulation. 9(5): 641-661.
Woods, A.J., Antal, A., Bikson, M., Boggio, P.S., Brunoni, A.R., Celnik, P. Cohen, L.G., Fregni, F., Herrmann, C.S., Kappenman, E., Knotkova, H., Liebetanz, D., Miniussi, C., Miranda, P.C., Paulus, W., Priori, A., Reato, D., Stagg, C., Wenderoth, N., Nitsche, M.A. (2016). A technical guide to tDCS, and related non-invasive brain stimulation tools. Clinical Neurophysiology. 127(2): 1031-1048.
Woods, A.J., Bryant, V., Sacchetti, D., Gervits, F., Hamilton, R. (2015). Effects of electrode drift on transcranial direct current stimulation. Brain Stimulation, 8(3): 515-519.
Woods, A.J., Hamilton, R.H., Kranjec, A., Bikson, M., Minhaus, P., Yu, J., Chatterjee, A. (2014). Space, time, and causality in the human brain. Neuroimage. 92: 285-97