A brain training computer game has been shown to improve the memory of people with early-stage dementia.
The app, which has been developed by British neuroscientists, could potentially help some patients avert some symptoms of cognitive decline.
Participants were given the game to play on an ipad, in which they tried to win gold coins by putting different patterns in their correct places. The game would become increasingly more challenging as players succeed to keep the brain stimulated.
Patients who played “game show” for a month had around a 40 per cent improvement in their memory scores, the researchers said.
“We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy ageing and mild Alzheimer’s disease,” said George Savulich, who led the study at Cambridge University.
He added that patients who played the game retained more complex visual information than those who didn’t.
Commenting on the study, Tara Spires-Jones, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “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.”
Dr Carol Routledge from Alzheimer’s Research UK added: “Game Show could hold some benefit for people with mild memory problems.
“But without more research we can’t tell if the same benefits could be achieved with any other electronic game.
“The fear of a dementia diagnosis is at an all-time high so there is a lot of interest in cognitive brain training.”
Around 850,000 people are currently diagnosed with dementia in the UK. The condition can lead to memory loss, problems with thinking speed and mental agility, communication, understanding, and judgment.