People with cognitive decline may benefit from this ‘brain training’ app

cognitive decline, brain

Scientists have developed a new brain training app they claim is helping people with cognitive decline perform better as far as memory is concerned.

Dementia is a huge global health problem. The World Health Organization says some 47.5 million people had dementia in 2015, and that number is rising rapidly as life expectancy increases and societies age. The condition is incurable and there are few drugs that can alleviate the symptoms — which include declining memory, thinking, behavior, navigational and spatial skills and the gradual loss of ability to perform everyday tasks.

Scientists at Cambridge University let a study wherein they were able to show that a brain training computer game improves the memory of patients and could help such patients avert some symptoms of cognitive decline. Researchers who developed the “game show”-like app and tested its effects on cognition and motivation in a small trial found that patients who played the game over a period of a month had around a 40 percent improvement in their memory scores.

Publishing his results in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Savulich said that as well as improving their memory scores in the game, patients who played it retained more complex visual information than those who didn’t.

Independent experts said the study’s findings were encouraging, but that the app needed be tested against other forms of brain training in trials involving more people.

“While this type of brain training will not ultimately be able to prevent or cure memory diseases like dementia, (it is) a promising way to improve early memory symptoms of the disease,” said Tara Spires-Jones of the University of Edinburgh.

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