Aged Population Showing Early Symptoms of Dementia Essay

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Mental therapy using non-intense video games and how it affects brain health among the aged population showing early symptoms of dementia.



The deterioration of cognitive abilities and brain tissue due to age could have several adverse effects on mental systems and could even lead to dementia. Thus, researchers are trying to discover methods which could help keep brain function, independence, health and cognition among aged people in its best shape. Usually, with age, the white and gray matter of the brain shrivels with this action seen more in its prefrontal cortex than other regions. Other affected brain parts are the cerebellum, the prefrontal cortex on the side as well as the central temporal lobe structure which includes the hippocampus. Despite this, the occipital cortices and the entorhinal do not experience any form of shrinkage (Ballesteros et al., 2015). Common symptoms of this shrinkage include reduced memory strength, lower mental processing ability, irregular memory and inability to carry out regular actions. Speech, knowledge and previous memories, however, typically remain strong. This trend is seen even in adults and patients suffering from non-severely impaired cognitive abilities or Alzheimer's as their memory base is intact while they showed reduced abilities in learning new things. Quite remarkably, researches carried out using magnetic resonance images of body functions showed modified neural priming among aged people though the behavioral priming was kept intact, maybe as a sort of recompense (Ballesteros et al., 2013; Aristotle University of T. et al., 2015)

Literature review



Several studies have backed the idea that a solution could be found towards improving the quality of life of the older population. A phenomenon known as Neuroplasticity has been discovered in animals. It means how much the brain is able to adapt following an environmental modification and it is dependent on cognitive function and neural attachments. Therefore, we should expect a more loaded hippocampus in people who exist in superior environments due to their higher wealth of interest (Ballesteros et al., 2015).



Experiments carried out on humans indicate occurrences of neural plasticity dependent on the neural substrate level and this phenomenon doesn't happen equally in the young and old adults. The brain, as it progresses in age, still remains neuroplastic to some extent and it is affected by the actions of a person (Connor & Shaw, 2016; Friedrich et al., 2014).

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Cognitive plasticity results from the prolonged inequality existing between resources available to organisms and those taken up by the environment and it determines how capable the brain will be in conditioning itself based on behavioral tendencies (Bavelier et al., 2012). In accordance with the neuroplasticity beliefs, several moves have been made aimed at improving cognition and mental deterioration via the reinforcement of social interaction skills, exercising cognitive abilities, participating in physical trainings and adopting healthy living methods (Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2014).



Training exercises have proved very helpful on the cognitive abilities of aged people especially in the areas of memory, reasoning, attention, cognition, multitasking, information processing speed and operational memory (Jak, Seelye & Jurick, 2013; Anguera et al., 2013; Hampstead et al., 2012).



Merging video games with these training schemes is an approach which is enjoying huge attention even though it has not been conclusively proven scientifically to truly boost cognitive abilities of its patients. A recent comprehensive study discovered that in situations where individual skills such as attention, problem solving and memory are exercised singly, it causes significant improvements in the trainees though these improvements were restricted to the exercised skills (Ballesteros et al., 2015). Therefore, the real question here is if these improvements can affect the other skills which were not trained thus causing a general improvement in the cognitive abilities of the aged population.



Researches on mental exercises indicate that playing intensive video games could improve a number of perceptive and mental skills such as changing tasks, short-term visual recollection, sight and vision-related perception, mental rumination over objects and personal action command for both young and aged persons alike (Bavelier et al., 2012; Ballesteros et al., 2015). Despite this, several other researches could not identify any associated improvement in mental ability or the identified improvements were negligible or in some cases, the improvements were more in the younger ones and not the aged group (Kuhn et al., 2014; Lampit, Hallock & Valenzuela, 2014). A good example is Owen et al. (2010) who carried out trainings for 11,430 persons over a period of 6 weeks with emphasis laid on cognitive exercises aimed at enhancing memory, visuospatial strength, reasoning, organization as well as attention but despite their thoroughness, they couldn't identify any improvement in cognitive ability separate from.....

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References

Anguera, J. A., Boccanfuso, J., Rintoul, J. L., Al-Hashimi, O., Faraji, F., Janowich, J., et al. (2013). Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults. Nature 501, 97 -- 101

Aristotle University Of, T., Greek Association for Alzheimer Disease and Related, D., Instituto, P., & Virtual Reality Medical Center, U. (2015). Cognitive/Physical Computer-Game Blended Training with Personalized Brain Network Activation Technology for the Elderly (AlterniityAR).

Ballesteros, S., Bischof, G. N., Goh, J. O. & Park D. C. (2013). Neural correlates of conceptual object priming in young and older adults: an event-related fMRI study. Neurobiol. Aging 34, 1254 -- 1264

Ballesteros, S., Prieto, A., Mayas, J., Toril, P., Pita, C., de Leon, L. P., &. .. Waterworth, J. (2015). Corrigendum: Brain training with non-action video games enhances aspects of cognition in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Front. Aging Neurosci. 7:82. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00082

Bavelier D., Green C. S., Pouget A., Schacter P. (2012). Brain plasticity through the lifespan: learning to learn and action video games. Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 35, 391 -- 416

Chisholm, J. D. & Kingstone, A. (2012). Improved top-down control reduces oculomotor capture: the case of action video game players. Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 74, 257 -- 262

Connor, B. B., & Shaw, C. A. (2016). Case study series using brain-training games to treat attention and memory following brain injury. Journal of Pain Management, 9(3), 217-226.

Friedrich, E. V., Suttie, N., Sivanathan, A., Lim, T., Louchart, S., & Pineda, J. A. (2014). Brain -- computer interface game applications for combined neurofeedback and biofeedback treatment for children on the autism spectrum. Frontiers in Neuroengennering, 3;7:21.

Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66.

Hampstead B. M., Shatian K., Phillips P. A., Amaraneni A., Delaune W. R., Stringer A. Y. (2012). Mnemonic strategy training improves memory for object location associations in both healthy elderly and patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a randomized, single-blind study. Neuropsychology 26, 385 -- 399

Jak, A., Seelye, A., & Jurick, S. (2013). Crosswords to Computers: A Critical Review of Popular Approaches to Cognitive Enhancement. Neuropsychology Review, 23(1), 13. doi:10.1007/s11065-013-9226-5

Kuhn, S., Gleich, T., Lorenz, R. C., Lindenberger, U., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: gray matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game. Molecular psychiatry, 19(2), 265-271.

Lampit, A., Hallock, H., & Valenzuela, M. (2014). Computerized Cognitive Training in Cognitively Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Effect Modifiers. Plos Medicine, 11(11), 1-18. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001756

Nouchi, R., Taki, Y., Takeuchi, H., Hashizume, H., Nozawa, T., Kambara, T.,. .. & Kawashima, R. (2013). Brain training game boosts executive functions, working memory and processing speed in the young adults: a randomized controlled trial. PloS one, 8(2), e55518.

Owen, A. M., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J. A., Stenton, R., Dajani, S., Burns, A. S., et al. (2010). Putting brain training to test. Nat. Lett. 465, 775 -- 778

Toril, P., Reales, J. M., & Ballesteros, S. (2014). Video game training enhances cognition of older adults: A meta-analytic study. Psychology and Aging, 29(3), 706-716.

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013). World Population Ageing 2013. ST/ESA/SER.A/348

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