POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The University of South Florida is conducting a study to examine whether playing computerized “brain games” can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia like Alzheimer's.
“To have something that is easily accessible, low-cost and engaging and fun to be able to utilize that in a way that could have some impact on older adult’s lives is really exciting,” said Dr. Aryn Bush, USF assistant professor and VP of Science and Translation at Reliance Medical Centers
USF is partnering with Reliance Medical Centers to conduct the study at the center’s Lakeland and Winter Haven locations.
“You could be somebody that you have an outstanding physical health but when it comes to your behavioral and cognitive health if there is a decline that we don’t catch earlier, you’re going to be impacting your overall health,” said Dr. Carlos Romero, co-CEO, co-founder and chief medical officer of Reliance.
USF’s preliminary research shows computer “brain games” decreased the risk of dementia by nearly 50% for some people.
“Speed of processing is one area that we can see a benefit and that’s how quickly we’re able to process information in a given moment. It’s very relevant for driving,” explained Dr. Bush.
The university recently received a $44.4 million federal grant to continue its preventing Alzheimer's with cognitive training research study over the next five years, but they can’t do it alone.
Researchers are looking for 700 participates in Polk County to make the study successful.
“Alzheimer's and related dementias differently impact minorities, yet they often are the most underrepresented in research and we have to change that. So, we’re very committed. We really want to be able to reach people who aren’t typically as well represented,” Dr. Bush said.
Healthy adults 65 and older who have not been previously diagnosed with dementia can visit their website to sign up.