Scientists Think Video Games Could Aid in the Fight Against Dementia

Scientists Think Video Games Could Lead to Victory Against Dementia

Research into dementia, a disease that causes significant mental deterioration, is ongoing. Scientists have spotted several leads in their effort to reduce the risk of dementia development. Diet and exercise rank among the prominent leads, but one possible solution has been turning heads: video games.

To be clear, we’re not talking about the games you may already know. As cool as it’d be to cut away dementia as an electrified cyberninja carving a warpath through the core of a colossal mech, but sometimes scientists prefer the boring route. Their loss.

Instead, they’ve been developing games of their own, focusing on certain mental tasks they think will help combat dementia. In these games, you will recall patterns and sounds, relying on quick thinking to get the job done. The research is still ongoing, so there are no clear answers as to whether this stuff actually works. But many are looking hopeful. Millions of dollars have been poured into different projects. All are focused on the same goal.

“Double Decision” is one of those projects. “The goal of Double Decision is to progressively increase the amount of visual information a brain can take in and the speed at which it processes the information—capabilities that typically decline with age. Repeated gameplay trains the brain to think and react more quickly,  focus better and remember more,” says Michael Merzenich, chief science officer of Posit Science.

A version of the game is actually playable right now. It’s available in-browser on the Wall Street Journal website. It’s fairly rudimentary, the sort of thing you’d see on Newgrounds or CoolMathGames. But if the research holds weight, it could lead scientists to a very interesting conclusion.