Apps and Brain Games for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Jun 28, 2019
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ladies playing scrabble

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive function and deterioration of daily life. Alzheimer’s currently affects over 5 million Americans.

People who are diagnosed with the disease have problems with memory, behavior and thinking. These issues often cause feelings of frustration and anger in both the patient and the caregiver.

While there is no cure at present, studies have identified steps adults can take that may prevent Alzheimer’s or at least delay the progression.

There’s An App for That

With the rise of technology in recent years, mobile and tablet applications have been developed with the intention of helping exercise your brain. According to Nadine Kaslow, PhD., a professor and vice chair of Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry, apps can help promote mental health and improve psychological functioning.

In addition to using apps to improve memory, Kaslow has said, “There are also studies that show people who engage in these video games are less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.”

Some brain apps to consider include:

  • Lumosity: Available for Android and iOS, free for limited access or choice of $15 monthly subscription or $80 annual subscription
  • Peak: Brain Training: Available for Android and iOS, free for limited access or choice of $4.99 for monthly subscription or $34.99 for annual subscription
  • Matrix-Memory Challenge: Brain Training Game: Available for iOS, free
  • CogniFit Brain Fitness: Available for iOS, free for limited access or choice of $13 monthly subscription or $120 for annual subscription

Online Games Are Not Just for Teenagers

In addition to mobile apps and games, studies have shown that online games may be useful in keeping the brain active and warding off Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at King’s College London found that playing brain-training games online had a distinct advantage for people over the age of 50.

After playing the games for a period of 6 months, researchers found an increase in reasoning and problem-solving cognitive skills, especially for those that played 5 times a week or more.

The study, which was performed through a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, also found that people over 60 who play games daily scored higher in terms of carrying out everyday tasks.

"While this study wasn't long enough to test whether the brain training package can prevent cognitive decline or dementia,” said Dr. Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society. “We're excited to see that it can have a positive impact on how well older people perform essential everyday tasks."

Online games that may help keep your brain sharp include:

  • AARP’s Brain games
  • Puzzle Play
  • Games for the Brain

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