The popular smartphone easy games, such as “Tetris” and “Candy Crush” may be useful in detecting signs of cognitive decline, a new study suggests.
These mobile games require reactivity, visuospatial skills, and multiple hand gestures that are directly linked to cerebral function, according to British researchers at the University of Kent.
On September 12, at the international Ubicomp 2 conference, the research was presented by its authors. In two distinct periods 15 days apart, the researchers assessed the cognitive abilities of 21 participants using a standard written test, and having several 10-minute sessions of playing “Tetris,” “Candy Crush Saga”, and “Fruit Ninja”.
These mobile games were chosen due to their basic instructions and their requirement of using several movements of fingers.
The researchers were able to determine the link between the rotation movements and the cognitive performance levels of the volunteers by using sensors built into the phones. They have assessed the participants’ ability to concentrate, memorize, and perform visual and visuospatial search tasks.
Games to detect changes in motor capacity
Based on the researchers’ findings, they say doctors could use these games to identify the changes in motor capacity, which are frequently observed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“We are very encouraged by the results of our study and have since collected data from patients who showed signs of brain damage. This additional analysis reinforced the conclusions of our original research. We’re now working to design an algorithm which can carry out automatic monitoring of individuals’ cognitive performance while playing these games,” said Dr. Chee Siang Ang, principal author of the study.
He concluded that these tools could also be used with athletes who are at risk of having traumatic brain injuries from boxing, rugby, and soccer.