Could Video Games Be the Best Defense Against Cognitive Impairment?

Abstract electric circuit digital brain,technology conceptOne of the most widespread and problematic conditions that has plagued mankind is the development of cognitive impairment and degeneration. While a cure for these conditions has still managed to elude modern medicine, some organizations believe they may have found techniques to at least slow the process.

According to Medpage Today, a Multidomain Alzheimer’s Preventative Trial (MAPT) found that the combination of exercise, nutrition, supplementation, and cognitive counseling (all part of multidomain intervention) showed promising signs of slowing cognitive decline in older adults with existing memory impairment.

The trial involved the randomization of 1,680 patients aged 70 and over with subjective memory complaints — at least 40% had mild cognitive impairments — into one of four groups. Each received a different combination of the supplement Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid with anti-inflammatory effects, along with 12, two hour long multidomanin group sessions over the span of two months.

One group received only the supplement DHA, and another received both DHA and multidomain intervention. The other two groups both received a placebo in place of the DHA, with one of the groups also receiving the multidoman intervention.

The trial found that there was a significant effect in the multidomain groups with our without DHA. However, the longest effect was seen in groups with the combo of both multidomain intervention and supplements.

While these are very promising and important finds, the process is fairly extensive, requiring a lot of work and care from professionals and the patients alike. But Fierce Medical Devices reports that Israel’s Intendu is developing a strategy for improving cognitive impairment with more engaging and pleasurable activities for the patients.

Intendu recently launched their Functional Brain Trainer video game designed for the rehabilitation of cognitive degeneration. This is the first adaptive motion-interaction, cognitive training platform for those recovering from neurological conditions, such as traumatic injuries, strokes, and other neurological diseases.

The company says this program can train patients in multitasking, memory, self-initiation, inhibition, and attention skills.

“The adaptive nature of the games allows patients of various levels to be engaged and challenged by the software,” said Shepherd’s speech and language clinical manager, Dalise Robinson.

The interest in video games for these purposes was initially used as a form of psychological therapy following high rates of PTSD among vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs used video games to simulate battles and war scenes to help them assimilate and recover.

Boston’s Akili also recently touted a study that found their similar tablet-based video game intervention showed promise in treating ADHD in a trial of 80 children. Half weren’t even taking medication.