Nintendo BrainAge 2 : improving cognition in stroke survivors
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Purpose: My capstone project was part of a larger study being conducted by Dr. Jamie Mayer at Northern Illinois University. The purpose of this study was to determine if consistently playing an educational videogame could improve memory, cognition and executive function in people who have had a stroke or brain injury. Background: Recent research in neural plasticity of brain function has provided evidence that after injury, the brain can compensate for damaged areas through plastic changes. Observational studies performed by Butcher (2008) showed consensus that consistent cognitive practice from Brain-Age 2 helped deter the onset of dementia. The amount and intensity of therapy critically affects how much a patient will benefit from therapy. Particularly with cognitive tasks, more training leads to more improvement (Jaeggi et al. 2008). What has not been investigated is whether cognitive stimulation, known to be helpful in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia in those with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment, can actually help to increase or restore certain cognitive processes in those with cognitive problems secondary to stroke or brain injury. Hypothesis: After 6 weeks of consistently playing the Nintendo Brain-Age 2, stroke survivors' cognition and memory will improve to a measurable degree. Results: The results of the analysis showed no significant changes from pre-assessment to post-assessment, nor were there any changes within control subjects or stroke survivor subjects. Discussion: Incorporating strategy training as a component. of this study may produce measurable changes in both control and stroke SUbjects. Different assessments may reveal changes that we did not pick up on. Finally, the game seemed too easy for control and mild stroke subjects, which produced ceiling effects, and too hard for severe stroke subjects. Conclusion: Consumers should take caution before buying into the claims of brain training programs.