According to a new study conducted by researchers part of the University of Cambridge, a “brain training game” could reportedly help patients that have amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). This is considered as being a possible early stage of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Research results on the matter are available in a paper in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) July 3, 2017
aMCI is commonly described as being a sort of transitional stage between developing dementia and “aging healthy”. Its symptoms are characterized by motivation problems and day-to -day memory difficulties. Presently, there is no available drug treatment for dealing with such issues.
Brain Training Game Mimicking a Game Show
Scientists from the University of Cambridge pointed out that cognitive training has been demonstrated to have some beneficial effects. However, they also underline the fact that most such ‘training packages’ can become repetitive and ‘boring’. In turn, this may also make some of the involved participants lose interest and motivation.
So the research team came up with a new variant by developing “Game Show”. This is a memory game app, one which was tested with help from aMCI patients. The study involved 42 patients with amnesiac aMCI. These were randomly assigned to either a control or cognitive training group.
The control group participants continued with their usual clinical visits. Cognitive training members were asked to play the brain training game for a total of 8 sessions of one hour each, all over a 4-weeks period.
The memory app had its players take part in a ‘game show’ with the purpose of winning gold coins. In each round, they were asked to associate different geometric patterns with other locations. The better and more advanced the player, the more geometric patterns presented each level. A game show host also offers encouragement and helps boost the morale.
Testing results show that participants that played the game improved their memory score by around 40 percent. These also presented a better episodic memory and a higher capacity of retaining and recalling information in general.
“We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy aging and mild Alzheimer’s disease,” stated Professor Barbara Sahakian, one of the co-inventors of the new game.
Prof. Sahakian is also quoted as saying that such games will need to be enjoyable and engaging. Also, they will have to be “based on sound research and developed with patients.”
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