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This Gaming App May Boost Memory in Dementia Patients: Study

Called 'Game show', this app allows users to match locations and patterns which improves their cognitive behavior and alleviates the complications of dementia

This Gaming App May Boost Memory in Dementia Patients: Study

The app engages the users to engage their brain for long hours

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. patients who played the game improved their memory by 40%
  2. Helped them retain visual information more accurately
  3. The App makes the user match locations and patterns

The Scientists at the Cambridge University have developed a brain training app to improve memory in patients suffering from early stages of Dementia. The mobile application, called 'Gameshow' makes the user match locations and patterns and thereby provides an interesting outlet for brain exercising which keeps the user hooked onto it for long hours. The study, published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmocology says the game is not just intended to boost patient's episodic memory but also refurbishes associated cognitive mechanisms.

The Study

The researchers at the Cambridge University in the UK tested the effects of the game on patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which is the transitional stage between ageing and dementia. The researchers noted that the patients who played the game made fewer errors, needed fewer trials and improved their memory score by around 40%. This made it clear that they had correctly remembered the locations of more information at the first attempt only which intended to test their episodic memory.

Episodic memory is an account of one's personal memory at a particular time and space and indicates a person's remembering skills.

Scientists divided 42 patients with amnesiac MCI into two groups. The first one was the cognitive training group and other one was the control group. Participants in the cognitive training group played the game for a total of eight sessions of one hour each over a four week period. On the other hand, participants in the control group continued with usual clinic visits.

The first group showed some interesting behavioral changes as the training proceeded with time. As opposed to the other group, they enjoyed playing the games for long hours and demanded for period extension. This improved their episodic memory and helped them retain visual information more accurately than the participants from the second group. Researchers also noted that their confidence and subjective memory increased with the game play.

How does the App work?

In the game, the user is asked to match certain geometric patterns with certain locations and with each correct answer, he/she gets to win gold coins as a reward. The game continues till completion or when the users mark six incorrect answers.

The number of geometric patterns increase with increasing levels thereby motivating the user to retain as much pattern as he/she can. This keeps them engaged for long hours and the rewards keeps them motivated to play further.

(With inputs from PTI)

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