Exergames and Neuropsychological Functions in Older Adults: An Experimental Approach
- 712 Downloads
Digital games that combine physical exercise and cognitive activities, known in the literature as exergames, can improve players’ health and functional capacity. As exergames are becoming popular tools to enhance cognitive functions, we analyzed the neuropsychological performance of older adults who trained with games and others who performed traditional physical activities. We aimed to test if virtual training in multitasking games could result in better performance in brief neuropsychological time and place orientation, attention, memory, language, and arithmetic skills. The sample consisted of 31 independently living older adults. The virtual training group completed interactive activities in multitasking games, whereas the control group engaged in physical activities for aerobic resistance, speed, and balance. The NEUPSILIN Brief Neuropsychological Assessment Battery was used to assess cognitive functions. After 16 weeks of training, the performance of older adults who played games was significantly improved (p < 0.05) for attention, memory, and language. The performance of older adults in the control group was on average significantly improved for memory, language, and praxis (i.e., basic motor skills). This chapter reports on this study, but also reflects on research design and implementation issues considering the challenges and opportunities of experimental approaches and neuropsychological instruments to evaluate the bio-psychosocial impact of using exergames in later life.
KeywordsOlder adults Multitasking game Mental training Cognitive functions Physical exercises NEUPSILIN Brief Neuropsychological Assessment Battery
This research and chapter were supported by the Coordination and Improvement of Higher Level or Education Personnel (Capes) BEX 2169/13-4 funded by the Brazilian government. The authors would like to thank participants, the recreational center, and the psychologist Mariane Luiza Mattjie for administering the NEUPSILIN Brief Neuropsychological Assessment Battery.
- Allaire, J. C., McLaughlin, A. C., Trujillo, A., Whitlock, L. A., LaPorte, L., & Gandy, M. (2013). Successful aging through digital games: Socioemotional differences between older adult gamers and non-gamers. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1302–1306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.01.014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Buman, M. P., Hekler, E. B., Haskell, W. L., Pruitt, L., Conway, T. L., Cain, K. L., … King, A. C. (2010). Objective light-intensity physical activity associations with rated health in older adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 172(10), 1155–1165. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwq249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cai, L., Chan, J. S. Y., Yan, J. H., & Peng, K. (2014). Brain plasticity and motor practice in cognitive aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6(31), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00031.
- Fonseca, R. P., de Salles, J. F., & de Parente, M. A. M. P. (2009). NEUPSILIN: Instrumento de Avaliação Neuropsicológica Breve. Vetor Editora (1st ed.). São Paulo: Vetor.Google Scholar
- Gerling, K., & Masuch, M. (2011). When gaming is not suitable for everyone: playtesting Wii games with frail elderly. In 1st Workshop on Game Accessibility: Xtreme Interaction Design (FDG 2011), Bordeaux, France. Retrieved from http://hci.usask.ca/uploads/249-1.pdf.
- Harvey, P. D. (2012). Clinical applications of neuropsychological assessment. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 14(1), 91–9. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22577308.
- Microsoft. (2013). Kinect for Windows. Retrieved from https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/kinect.
- Namco Bandai. (2010). Body and Brain. Retrieved from https://www.bandainamcoent.eu/product/dr-kawashima-body-and-brain-exercises/xbox-360.
- Neves, B. B., Franz, R., Judges, R., Beermann, C., & Baecker, R. (2017). Can digital technology enhance social connectedness among older adults? A feasibility study. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 0733464817741369.Google Scholar
- Neves, B. B., Fonseca, J., Amaro, F., & Pasqualotti, A. (2018). Social capital and Internet use in an age-comparative perspective with a focus on later life.Google Scholar
- Neves, B. B., Waycott, J., & Malta, S. (2018). Old and afraid of new communication technologies? Reconceptualising and contesting the ‘age-based digital divide’. Journal of Sociology, 1440783318766119.Google Scholar
- Park, D. C., & Bischof, G. N. (2013). The aging mind: Neuroplasticity in response to cognitive training. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 15(1), 109–119. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3622463/pdf/DialoguesClinNeurosci-15-109.pdf.
- Paula, J. J., Bertola, L., Ávila, R. T., Moreira, L., Coutinho, G., de Moraes, E. N., … Malloy-Diniz, L. F. (2013). Clinical applicability and cutoff values for an unstructured neuropsychological assessment protocol for older adults with low formal education. PloS One, 8(9), e73167. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schwab, K. (2016). The fourth industrial revolution. Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
- Sinclair, J., Hingston, P., & Masek, M. (2007). Considerations for the design of exergames. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Australia and Southeast Asia—GRAPHITE’07 (p. 289). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/1321261.1321313.
- Tian, Q., Erickson, K. I., Simonsick, E. M., Aizenstein, H. J., Glynn, N. W., Boudreau, R. M., … Rosano, C. (2014). Physical activity predicts microstructural integrity in memory-related networks in very old adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A. Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69(3), 1284–1290. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glt287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Valeria Perasso. (2016). Qué es la cuarta revolución industrial (y por qué debería preocuparnos). BBC Mundo. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-37631834.
- Vries, N. M., van Ravensberg, C. D., Hobbelen, J. S. M., Olde Rikkert, M. G. M., Staal, J. B., & Nijhuis-van der Sanden, M. W. G. (2012). Effects of physical exercise therapy on mobility, physical functioning, physical activity and quality of life in community-dwelling older adults with impaired mobility, physical disability and/or multi-morbidity: a meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 11(1), 136–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2011.11.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wollersheim, D., Merkes, M., Shields, N., Liamputtong, P., Wallis, L., Reynolds, F., & Koh, L. (2010). Physical and psychosocial effects of Wii video game use among older women physical and psychosocial effects of Wii video game use among older women introduction. International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, 8(2), 85–98. Retrieved from http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/85781/20110620-0724/www.swinburne.edu.au/hosting/ijets/journal/V8N2/pdf/Article2Wollersheimetal.pdf.