Healthcare Apps and Mental Health: Serious Games to Improve Mild Cognitive Impairment

There can be no better way then brain games to stimulate your brain to work at its best. Challenges presented in games can entice your mind into shifting its gears to come up with a solution. Roughly 4% of the US population suffers from a severe mental illness accounting for 9.8 million in numbers. With such a bleak background picture, letting your psychological health slip into an abyss of neglect is not an option.

To this end, apps are convenient tools, and reviews of such applications can enlist apps that improve mild cognitive impairment. 93% of physicians put their trust in the effectiveness of such applications in boosting mental health. Additionally, the global market for healthcare apps is booming and predicted to reach $14 billion by 2020.

Brain training applications chip in a fair share in this market. As of 2017, the digital brain health market is valued at $1 billion. It is forecasted to soar to a value of $6 billion by 2020. Alvaro Fernandez, CEO of SharpBrains explains the progress, “The reason this market is growing so quickly is that people are very interested in enhancing their own brain health–at every age.” He claimed that people understand that their brain is a treasured asset which has to be protected and kept healthy for as long as possible.

At the same time, every person who crawls up the age ladder comes across Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). It is characterized by memory loss, whereby; a name or number tumbles down the memory lane and is lost. Cognitive functioning also suffers. Although MCI is part of aging, further severe cognitive degradation is a warning bell that indicates the onset of dementia.

A dementia overview reveals that half of the people with MCI develop the degenerative brain disease. This serves as another indicator to polish your brain health. Hence, without further ado, here is a list of mental training apps that improve MCI and sharpen the brain:

  1. BrainHQ

It is an online program crafted to boost the psychological performance of senior individuals. BrainHQ is designed by Dan Roenker from the Western Kentucky University and Karlene Ball of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The application requires users to quickly and accurately pinpoint objects.

As the game progresses, the objects appear at a faster pace, encouraging quick thought process of the users. A Research studied BrainHQ and found that in contrast with people who do not use any reason or memory tutoring means, such a brain training app helps to take down the risk of dementia by 29%.

  1. Game Show

This app comes from the researchers at the University of Cambridge. A study applauds the role of Game Show in brushing up the memory of patients in their early dementia stages. The early dementia stage is recognized as the amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) characterized by daily memory glitches. It occurs in the transitory phase between dementia and healthy aging.

Typically, there is no medicinal drug for the treatment of aMCI. Cognitive training is viewed as the light at the end of the tunnel. However, it becomes quickly ineffective with its repetitive packages that sip on the patients’ motivation. Game Show is developed as a hack for that. Evidence suggests that this brain training game helps the patients refine their memory score by approximately 40%.

  1. Lumosity

This application boasts a wide net of users that total to 85 million folks worldwide. Lumosity exhibits a myriad of more than 50 games that are aimed at polishing the five principal cognitive functions. These include attention, memory, speed, problem-solving, and flexibility. The application is the handiwork of 100 researchers who translated scientific knowledge into games.

The app’s website cites studies that confirm its effectiveness in achieving its goals. It narrates that more than 4,700 adults have been able to reap cognitive development benefits from their brain workouts.

A cherry on top of all this is that Lumosity can be used by adults and children alike. It ensures that brain health doesn’t derail in the first place. After all, “everyone with a brain is at risk of dementia” as accurately worded by Jerri D. Edwards of USF’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences.

  1. CogniFit

It is another brain training tool that dedicated to boosting cognitive performance. CogniFit extends its branches into categories of memory, attention, reasoning, coordination, and perception. It is packed with 30 games that string together the latest neuroscientific development on cognition and the gamification technology.

Around 1.5 million use this app for their personalized brain workout sessions which adapt as per the user’s performance. The app is feasible for use by all the age groups along with its services in managing patient mental health. Additionally, there is a pool of training programs offered by the app including those for depression, mental planning, and more.

  1. Fit Brains

Fit Brains is another mental workout app that presents the input of neuroscientists in the form of minigames. It facilitates with over 60 games and 500 personalized training programs. The app comes from Rosetta Stone, a software education tech company that develops language and literacy software alongside brain-fitness software.

It works on memory and concentration that are both defining symptoms of MCI. A unique aspect of this application is that it brings emotional intelligence (EQ) into the limelight. The games embed EQ in its framework that target social awareness, social skills, self-control, and self-awareness. There is also a school edition of Fit Brains, which is a training package directed at increasing the cognitive performance of school-going children.

  1. BrainTest

BrainTest is an app that allows you to run tests that help determine dementia, MCI, and Alzheimer’s and more. Awareness of health concern is the first step of the intervention that is needed. It is also the first rung of the ladder that leads to a diagnosis, care, and treatment. This stands equally valid in the case of MCI and BrainTest helps in this regard.

The app provides the same cognitive screening tests such as those offered in clinics. However, these can be taken within the comfort of one’s home. The app is scientifically validated by The Ohio State University. Additionally, the accuracy of the app’s test results has been confirmed by studies that mark its specificity at 90%.  Read BrainTest reviews online to help you understand how to use this app.

Final word

Ultimately, these gaming brain apps are serious training sessions that help improve mild cognitive impairment and mental health. Most of these applications are backed explicitly by research that speaks volumes about their efficacy.

Furthermore, studies also confirm the potency of such games in enhancing memory, speed processing, and other executive functions. Research outlines that such mental coaching sessions can assist in preventing cognitive decline among elderly individuals too.


Author Bio:


Evie Harrison is a blogger by choice.  She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter: @iamevieharrison

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