Could an app reverse the early signs of dementia?
New research from the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia suggests that Brain training games can boost the memory and may reduce the risk of dementia.
Researchers used an app called ‘Game Show’ to treat people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Participants played the game on an iPad and had to try and win gold coins by putting different patterns in their correct places, with the game becoming increasingly challenging as players succeed, in order to keep them stimulated.
42 people over-45 living with amnestic mild cognitive impairment participated in the study, which last for one month. Half of the participants played Game Show for two hours a week and the other half played no video games at all.
The results, published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, revealed that players improved their “episodic” memory by about 40 per cent and participants said that they enjoyed playing it, and felt motivated to continue playing.
This helps with the day-to-day activities such as remembering where we put our car keys, or a joke we shared with friends.
Dr Carol Routledge from Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Game Show could hold some benefit for people with mild memory problems.
“But without more research we can’t tell if the same benefits could be achieved with any other electronic game.
“The fear of a dementia diagnosis is at an all-time high so there is a lot of interest in cognitive brain training.”
Larger trials are planned to see how long the benefits last.