This post is part of my thesis study about mild cognitive impairment(MCI) and how serious games can be used like a non-pharmacological treatment.
Cognitive skills are changing over lifetime.
In the aging process there is a decline in cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, problem solving, and brain processing speed. Studies have shown that cognitive training can improve these cognitive skills (Smith et al., 2009; Mahncke et al., 2006; Ball et al., 2002).
Mild cognitive impairment(MCI) represents an intermediate state of cognitive function between changes observed due to aging and those meeting the criteria for dementia and often Alzheimer’s disease (Petersen et al., 1999). Several studies have shown that there is an increased risk of dementia in people with mild cognitive attenuation (Busse et al., 2006; Plassman et al., 2008; Lopez et al., 2003).
Dementia is a global phenomenon, international organizations estimate that there are 50 million people in the world suffering from dementia and growing daily (Alzheimer’s Disease International). Best practices for the care of the elderly include the stimulation of cognitive abilities. It has been shown that this stimulation may slow the degenerative process associated with diseases such as dementia (Chatterjee & Price 2004).
As mentioned in the previous section, exercising cognitive abilities can slow down the symptoms observed in aging and cause illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So nowadays that technology can be used through game applications to practice cognitive skills. Games can be used as a non-pharmacological method to help with the treatment.
A serious game is designed for a serious purpose other than pure entertainment. Such games can be used for purposes such as education, health, science, emergency management, etc. Research has shown that electronic and board games can improve the cognitive skills (Cheng et al., 2013; Anguera et al., 2013). Overall, there has been a high interest in the development of such games in recent years.
Many researches have also shown that serious games can successfully exercise physical and mental abilities in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. A review of the bibliography has been made by McCallum and Boletsis (2013), in which there is evidence that games aimed at exercising cognitive skills can improve various such abilities as memory and attention (Yamaguchi et al., 2011) (Weybright et al., 2010; Boulay et al., 2011).