It often happens that with age our memory starts to slow down. But if we believe on the recent findings of a new study, it has shown that just one month of training on a new computer game can help in improving memory of older adults and also strengthen prospective memory, the type of memory necessary for planning, everyday functioning, and independent living.
Older adults who played the cognitive-training game called Virtual Week, “more than doubled” the number of prospective memory tasks performed correctly compared to seniors who performed other activities, such as taking music classes, according to researchers at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, Canada.
Prospective memory, which refers to the ability to remember and successfully carry out intentions and planned activities during the day, tends to weaken with age, the researchers noted. It accounts for between 50 percent to 80 percent of reported everyday memory problems, they added.
“While these results are encouraging, they represent a first step in exploring the efficacy of prospective memory training with the Virtual Week training program,” added Dr. Fergus Craik, a memory researcher based at Baycrest and senior author on the paper, which was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
The early findings are so promising that the researchers have been awarded a grant from the Australian Research Council, in partnership with Villa Maria Catholic Homes, to follow up on the study with a large randomized control trial.
The research team was also awarded a grant with colleagues in the Centre for Heart and Mind at the Australian Catholic University’s Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research to implement the game-based cognitive training program in patients with chronic heart failure, a group that demonstrates severe prospective memory problems associated with self-care.
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