Battling Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Can Brain-Training Apps Help?
Many studies have explored ways in which the onset of dementia can be slowed or even avoided altogether. So far, research seems to suggest that healthy eating and exercise offer considerable benefits to maintaining good brain-health. Now, scientists seem keen to add another suggestion to keep dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay; brain-training.
Brain Training for Dementia
A recent study carried out in Finland explored the effects of brain-training and other factors on a group of participants aged from 60 to 77, all of whom were recognised to be at risk of developing dementia.
The study, which featured 1,260 people and took place over two years, showed that subjects following the specific advice of the scientists had 25% better brain-related test scores than those following conventional health advice.
Certain results were particularly striking. For example, in tests relating to ‘executive functioning’; the brain’s ability to organise thought-processes, scores were 83% higher in the programme group. Their processing speed was ranked 150% higher than those not following the programme.
Dr Simon Ridley, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, claims that ‘the initial results are promising and suggest that a combination of improving cardiovascular health and keeping mentally active could slow decline in some aspects of our thinking, but it’s unclear which of the interventions carried the greatest benefit.’
In addition to this the Alzheimer’s Society is currently conducting a brain training trial to ascertain just how much stimulating mental activity could help in terms of preventing onset of Alzheimer’s.
Using Your Smartphone to Train Your Brain
To start training your brain today and boost your levels of mental activity, here’s five of the best brain-trainings apps available:
- Lumosity (iPhone, iPad). One of the most popular brain-training apps available, it features games to test memory, attention, problem solving and flexible thinking. Developers of the app claim that it can improve mental skills with just one session a day.
- Brain Fitness Pro (iPhone, iPad). Engage in a range of memory training exercises to boost memory and problem solving skills.
- Eidetic (iPhone, iPad). This free app uses a technique called spaced repetition, which helps you to memorise information; such as spellings, phone numbers or facts. You’ll receive notifications, reminding you when to test yourself.
- Elevate (iPhone, iPad, Android). This brain-training app focuses on communication skills, helping users to improve vocabulary, comprehension and writing. Is available for free, or upgrade to PRO version.
- Happify (iPhone, iPad). Unlike other brain-training apps, this one focuses on not only strengthening the brain with exercises, but promoting positive psychology and boosting happiness.
Finding the Best Brain-Training App for You
There are numerous brain-training apps available on both iOS and Android. To find the best apps to enjoy on a daily basis, ask for recommendations from friends and family, or read helpful reviews online.
If the research is anything to go by, it would seem that taking the time to keep your brain active each day can really help to prevent the onset of dementia and other related conditions.