A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have created a new app designed to boost memory and reduce the effects of dementia for those in the early stages of the disease.
Learn more about brain training games, dementia and the promise this new app is bringing to the billion dollar industry.
Brain Training and Dementia
The effectiveness of brain training games on improving brain health is heavily debated by leading neuroscientists and Alzheimer’s disease researchers. Some researchers are skeptical, saying that the progression of Alzheimer’s is biological, even calling the idea that a simple computer game can improve memory “ludicrous.”
Nevertheless, brain fitness games that promise to protect memory and prevent the disease have created a $1 billion market and industry leaders expect that number to grow to $6 billion in the coming years.
Even if the games do not actually improve memory, there’s no doubt that the brain training industry is thriving. Which may be why researchers are getting in the game, hoping to create a product that actually helps boost brain health.
New Brain Training App Shows Promise
A new study evaluated the effects of the game on the memory of participants with healthy brains as well as those in the early stage of dementia. The app, called “Game Show,” asks players to match patterns with different locations to earn gold coins.
The study found that members in the training group (those with dementia), demonstrated improved episodic memory, retained more complex visual information and improved their memory score by 40%. Results showed the users remembered the locations of more information than their first attempt. Additionally, confidence and subjective memory increased as users played the game.
Co-inventor of the game, Professor Barbara Sahakian, says “Good brain health is as important as good physical health. There’s increasing evidence that brain training can be beneficial for boosting cognition and brain health, but it needs to be based on sound research and developed with patients. It also need to be enjoyable enough to motivate users to keep to their programs. Our game allowed us to individualize a patient’s cognitive training program and make it fun and enjoyable for them to use.”
George Savulich, M.D., lead scientist of the study, is optimistic adding, “Patients found the game interesting and engaging and felt motivated to keep training throughout the eight hours. We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy aging and mild Alzheimer’s disease.”
Do you think brain training games are effective? Have you seen positive effects of these games in yourself or a loved one? Share your story with us in the comments below.