Elderly exercising. Photo via MGN/Pixabay

Study uses ‘brain games’ to improve memory for elderly people

A new study by researchers is using computerized brain games to help improve memory of elderly people.

Marlene Ray, 73, knows all to well what can do to a persons brain.

“”My sister-in-law suffers with dementia, so I want to know what I can do to help anybody I can while my mind is still sharp,” said Ray.

Ray is one of 400 people being recruited by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine for C-REM.

C-REM stands for Cognitive Remediation to Improve Mobility.

“It’s based on the idea that to walk in the real world you need to engage your whole brain,” said Joe Verghese. Director of Mentefiore Einstein Center for Aging Brain.

Three days a week for 45 minutes, half of the seniors participating in the study play computerized brain games that target the areas of the brain important to mobility and executive function, the prefrontal cortex, the basal ganglia, and the connections between.

Participants then perform timed walking and cognition tests, seeing how long it takes to walk a runway, while reciting alternate letters of the alphabet.

They also try to find their way out of a floor maze, while keeping one foot on the yellow guideline.

Marlene Ray, performs with her church and says she sees big improvements in her memory.

“I did a show with my choir in December, and I had to remember 12 songs,” said Ray.

As part of the study, scientists are also using specialized scanners to measure brain activity.

An earlier, small pilot program showed participants who played the brain games improved their walking.

This large randomized trial is expected to run through 20-20.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
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