Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background : There have been increasing efforts to develop non-pharmacological preventive interventions for cognitive decline experienced by older adults. Cognitive training via playing games especially ones that aim at training concentration and speed processing has been shown to have positive effects on the certain domains of cognition in healthy older adults. Only few studies have directly examined possible cognitive benefits and transfer effects of playing video game in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Objective : To explore the effects of a video game on cognitive functions in older adults with MCI. Design : Quasi-experimental study Setting : Dementia Clinic, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital Methods : Twenty volunteers aged 54-74 years fulfilling the MCI diagnostic criteria were enrolled. The sample was divided into 2 groups (10 members each): the Video game Group, received 6 weeks of speed - attention type video game training and Control Group. Cognitive functions were assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB) before and after training. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and nonparametric Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney U test. Results : At 6 weeks, the Video game Group had significant improvement in executive function in the area of working memory (CANTAB SWM test) compared to Control Group (p < 0.05). The significant within group effects of pre- and post training for the Video game group showed improvement in processing speed and executive function test outcomes of problem solving and visual learning tasks (CANTAB OTS and PAL). Conclusions : The result indicated that there is a possibility which the elderly with MCI could improve executive functions in short term training. Although the present study is limited by small sample sizes, nevertheless, the results are promising for the further investigation and development of cognitive-specific video games in larger, more diverse samples.



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