Brain Training Game to Reduce the Risk of Dementia

A 2015 report by King’s College London stated that there are approximately 47 million people living with dementia all around the world, and 4.2 million of those people are living in India, a number projected to double every twenty years. Dementia is a broad term that encompasses symptoms related to a decline in memory, thought, social abilities and complex motor skills. It can be devastating for both affected individuals and their families or friends as it gradually destroys a person and their ability to carry on with daily living. Numerous brain games have been proposed as means of treating dementia, but most are weakly or not at all backed by evidence based research. This is where the game ‘Double Decision’ betters them all. It is a brain training game based on an area of cognition called speed of processing. The goal of the exercise is to improve the speed and the accuracy of visual attention by increasing the useful field of view (UFOV). This is the area within which one can quickly assess and make decisions. For e.g. if you’re driving a car and a child suddenly runs on to the road, how likely you are to notice the child and swerve out of the way depends on your useful field of view. As one gets older their UFOV becomes smaller thereby making it more difficult to notice what’s going on in the periphery. The game basically requires you to identify the type of car which was presented at the center of the screen while locating the position of a road sign in the periphery, thereby expanding one’s UFOV. In more challenging levels the peripheral object is encircled by distractions which make it harder for the player to stay focused. A study led by researchers from University of South Florida showed that playing this game reduced the risk of dementia by 8 percent with each session of the training that was completed. Overall the risk was reduced by 48% if one completed 11 or more sessions of the game. In addition the participants in this study reported increase in focus, emotional stability, and quality of life and day to day activities.

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