‘Brain training’ app improves memory in people with cognitive decline

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/7/3 16:48:39

A brain training computer game developed by British neuroscientists has been shown to improve the memory of patients in the very earliest stages of dementia and could help such patients avert some symptoms of cognitive decline.

The 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 demonstrated around a 40 percent improvement in their memory scores.

"We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy aging and mild Alzheimer's disease," explained George Savulich, who led the study at Cambridge University.

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 at a rapid pace 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.

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.

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