Alexandra Thompson
Daily Mail
November 16, 2017

  • Completing 15 sessions over 10 years gives someone a 5.9% risk of dementi
  • The more a person plays the game, the lower their dementia risk becomes
  • It is unclear what the ideal amount and timing of training for prevention is
  • Experts stress this is a preventative measure and not a dementia treatment
  • Researchers from the University of South Florida analyzed 2,802 adults

A computer game that reduces peoples’ dementia risk by 29 percent is the first to prevent the condition, new research has revealed.

Individuals who completed as little as 15 sessions over 10 years were found to have just a 5.9 percent chance of developing a form of the disorder, a study found.

And the more a person plays the game, the lower their risk becomes, the research adds.

Lead author Dr Jerri Edwards from the University of South Florida, said: ‘Speed of processing training resulted in decreased risk of dementia across the 10-year period of, on average, 29 percent as compared to the control.

‘We need to investigate what is the appropriate amount of training to get the best results. The timing of intervention is also important.’

How the research was carried out 

The researchers analyzed 2,802 healthy adults with an average age of 74 at six sites around the US.

The study’s participants were followed for 10 years.

Their cognitive function was assessed at the beginning of the study, after the first six weeks, and at one, two, three, five and 10 years.

Some of the participants completed a speed-training game, known as ‘Double Decision’, that involved them identifying objects, such as cars, in the center and periphery of a screen.

As the game progresses, the objects moved faster and became smaller or additional distractions appear.

The number of sessions participants completed varied between individuals.

Game reduces dementia risk by 29% 

Results reveal completing the speed-training games reduces the risk of dementia by 29 percent.

The more an individual takes part in brain-training sessions, the less at risk of the condition they are.

Among those completing 15 or more sessions, the likelihood of developing dementia is 5.9 percent.

Although unclear, the game appears to help keep the brain sharp by maintaining its activity.

Dr Edwards said: ‘Speed of processing training resulted in decreased risk of dementia across the 10-year period of, on average, 29 percent as compared to the control.

‘We need to investigate what is the appropriate amount of training to get the best results.

‘The timing of intervention is also important. Existing data indicate speed training is effective among older adults with and without mild cognitive impairment, but it is important to understand this is preventative to lower risk of dementia and is not a treatment for dementia.’

The findings were published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions.