What is a memory?
From a definitional standpoint, it’s our ability to encode, store, retain and recall past experiences.
From a personal standpoint, memories mean the world.
In my work with dementia patients and their family and professional caregivers, memory loss is a source of frustration and heartbreak. It is a symptom of dementia that leads to other complications involving a patient’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.
A recent study sheds light on a new brain training app that can help improve the memory of people who show early stages of dementia.
The app, called “Game Show,” and developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, was used in the study. Members of the study made one-third fewer errors, required less trials and boosted their score by 40 percent.
Here, the study provides a true silver lining: those who engaged in gamified cognitive training improved episodic memory (ability to retain and details about events) and retained more complex visual information. Furthermore, participants felt more confidence and even enjoyment at the challenges of the game.
This is welcoming news to family members who would do anything to help lessen the burden their family members carry when they begin to lose their ability to recall special moments and everyday events that are vital to their independence and happiness.
Memory games face criticism because some contend they only help participants improve their memory within the context of the game. While others say such a game may not help reverse memory loss, but they certainly do not hurt.
The app targets people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, which is a stage between healthy aging and dementia.