Evaluating a new group training tool for the prevention of dementia

Evaluating a new group training tool for the prevention of dementia
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Training with the go4cognition tool. Credit: Assunta Jaeger

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Solving a quiz as a group while moving around the room at the same time—this combination is the basis of a new tool designed to prevent dementia. Researchers developed and evaluated it in the “go4cognition” project with industry partners and brought it to market maturity.

Vanessa Lissek and Professor Boris Suchan from Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and Stefan Orth from the company Ontaris describe how effective the training with the system is in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The article was published online on April 30, 2024.

“In the project, we’ve developed a completely new system that can be used for dementia prevention training,” says Suchan. “We were specifically interested in designing a tool for group training, as it produces very good results and increases acceptance. Also, all participants benefit and learn from each other.”

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The new system is designed for groups of seven to ten people. It consists of six stations arranged around the room, each equipped with a tablet. The tablets display different tasks, such as listing German chancellors, memorizing series of numbers or planning a trip around the world to specific locations.

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In order to complete the tasks, a participant has to move to the relevant station and insert a baton fitted with a microchip into a specific device. “We can then digitally record how long it took to complete the task and whether the answer was correct,” explains Suchan. As everyone has their own baton, their individual performance can be evaluated.

Detailed information on the system is available on the project website.

The researchers tested the system with 30 volunteers aged between 60 and 89 who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, i.e. who showed moderate cognitive impairment in neuropsychological tests.

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“Our participants are not restricted in their everyday activities, but have an increased risk of developing dementia at a later stage,” says Suchan. Mild cognitive impairment occurs in 15 to 20% of people above the age of 60.

The participants trained with the go4cognition system two days a week for six weeks. After completing the training, 70% of them were no longer diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

The group training tool is marketed by the company Ontaris. “It’s already used in retirement homes, for example in Oberhausen—also for residents who have not yet been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment,” says Suchan, and offers an outlook. “In the future, we’re also considering testing the system for people with acquired brain damage.”

For people who don’t have access to the go4cognition system but still wish to take steps to prevent dementia, the Bochum-based researcher recommends physical and mental activities and a healthy diet.

“All of this helps to prevent dementia or at least delay it for as long as possible,” says Suchan.

More information:
Vanessa J. Lissek et al, go4cognition: Evaluation of a Newly Developed Multicomponent Intervention in Mild Cognitive Impairment, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2024). DOI: 10.3233/JAD-230802

Citation:
Evaluating a new group training tool for the prevention of dementia (2024, May 15)
retrieved 15 May 2024
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-05-group-tool-dementia.html

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