In previous studies, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) improved cognition and behaviour in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The rationale underlying these studies was that TENS could activate, e.g. the septo-hippocampal region and the hypothalamus through direct and indirect pathways. As these areas are also affected in normal aging, the present study examined the effects of TENS on cognition and behaviour in nondemented elderly persons. The results suggest an improvement in visual short-term and verbal long-term (recognition) memory, and semantic verbal fluency. Moreover, stimulated elderly persons felt less depressed. Limitations are discussed. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.