Brain-training video games help seniors resist age-related mental deterioration


You may be able to prevent or delay dementia with changes in diet and exercise, research has found. Today, another possible tool to avoid dementia is attracting the attention of researchers: specially designed video games.

The companies are marketing a series of digital games that promise training for the brain, with a battery of speed, attention and memory exercises. Researchers are also working there. Scientists are investigating whether such ‘brain training’ games can help avoid or delay age-related brain deterioration.

These games are not what people usually think of as video games or puzzles. In some, players must differentiate and recall sounds, patterns, and objects, making quick decisions that become more difficult as games progress.

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Cognitive training, which includes everything from computer-based exercises to puzzles and the bridge, has been identified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine as a promising area for dementia intervention research. There is no recommended age to start playing these games. You can find games online or at libraries, community colleges, or local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Brain-training games have not been proven to prevent dementia, according to the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health… Yet the research to date has been encouraging enough – and the dementia so widespread – that scientists are studying the games further.

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Carolyn M. Daniel