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Cognitive Training Using a Novel Memory Game on an iPad in Patients with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI)

Results
Significant time-by-pattern-by-group interactions were found for cognitive performance in terms of the number of errors made and trials needed on the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Paired Associates Learning task (P=.044; P=.027). Significant time-by-group interactions were also found for the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Paired Associates Learning first trial memory score (P=.002), Mini-Mental State Examination (P=.036), the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test (P=.032), and the Apathy Evaluation Scale (P=.026). Within-group comparisons revealed highly specific effects of cognitive training on episodic memory. The cognitive training group maintained high levels of enjoyment and motivation to continue after each hour of gameplay, with self-confidence and self-rated memory ability improving over time.

Conclusions
Episodic memory robustly improved in the cognitive training group. “Gamified” cognitive training may also enhance visuospatial abilities in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Gamification maximizes engagement with cognitive training by increasing motivation and could complement pharmacological treatments for amnestic mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease. Larger, more controlled trials are needed to replicate and extend these findings.

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