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Exergaming: Increased Cognition to Combat Alzheimer

Nov 26, 2019 | 4 months ago | Read Time: 3 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

In the words of David Perlmutter, “Alzheimer is a disease for which there is no effective treatment whatsoever. To be clear, there is no pharmaceutical agent, no magic pill that a doctor can prescribe that will have any significant effect on the progressive downhill course of this disease.”  While it’s true that with Alzheimer there is no specific cure, scientists have discovered ways through which patients can improve their mental capabilities.

Exergaming – What is it?

Exergaming which involves playing interactive video games can improve complex thinking and memory skills. Scientists say that for exergaming, the gamers are required to use mental abilities along with physical movements which in turn helps adults deal with the precursor to Alzheimer. Technological advancements involving the use of augmented and virtual reality have made it possible for scientists to use exergaming to delay the effects of the disease as much as they can.

How does Exergaming benefit Alzheimer patients?

Cay Anderson-Hanley, associate professor at Union College in the US, says, “Exergaming is one more thing that could be added to the arsenal of tools to fight back against this cruel disease.” Numerous studies in the past have shown that adults who indulge in interactive gaming sessions developed better cognitive abilities as compared to those resorting to traditional exercising. Though traditional exercising is one of the best ways to develop a cognitive response, if you couple the traditional way with modern interactive gaming, the benefits would be doubled.

What does the research have to say?

The researchers with more than 100 seniors was conducted for this study. Over a period of 6 months, 14 participants persisted with regular exergaming (7 men and 7 women). These groups were the divided into two teams. The initial group was asked to pedal along with scenic VR more than a couple of times in a week. The group that followed was assigned to a mentally challenging task which involved playing a video game consisting of dragon hunt and coin collection while pedalling. Advanced bikes were placed at various sites including that of community centres, hospitals and other living centres.

What were the results?

The results of the active group were compiled and compared to the other group. The output was studied, and it was found that people who had an intensive exergaming session showed considerably better executive function. Amazed by the results, Prof. Hanley added, “Executive function is like the CEO of the brain. It is key to remaining independent in later life. For example, it allows you to cook two things on the stove at once. It makes sure you don’t forget that you are boiling water while also having something in the oven.”

What about further developments?

To confirm the findings, Anderson-Hanley approved that research on a large sample size needs to be conducted to justify the findings. She also shared about the difficulty in getting elderly people to attend gymnasium or to any other venue to engage in exergame. To find a solution to this problem, she and her team are working to help seniors stay home and engage in the activity through the app. Overall findings thus far have been impressive with physical and mental combination suggesting an increased stimulation of the brain.


She concluded, “The goal is to explore even more effective ways to prevent or ameliorate cognitive decline in older adults by tailoring accessibility and level of mental engagement in interactive cognitive and physical exercise,” she said.

“The results suggest that the best outcome for brain health may result when we do both: move it and use it,” she added. 

Before concluding, it is important to shed some light on the importance of health insurance in this scenario, if you wish to safeguard your loved ones, there are a variety of health insurance plans available in the industry which can best meet your needs. To know about Aegon Life’s life insurance products like term insurance and other products, visit our home page.

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