A new study published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B reveals that a new iPad game has been found helpful in helping patients with schizophrenia remember a lot of things – thereby helping them stay on their jobs and concentrate at their studies.
Developed in Britain by scientists from Cambridge University, the brain-training app satisfied researchers during a four-week trial programme with schizophrenic individuals suffering from memory and learning lapses.
Patients who have episodic memory improved after being exposed to Wizard after some weeks; they were able to recall where they placed their keys several hours before, and also remember the spot they packed their car in a multi-storey car park.
Schizophrenia is any of several psychotic disorders characterized by distortions of reality and disturbances of thought and language and withdrawal from social contact. It is a long-term mental health condition that causes changes in behaviour through delusions and hallucinations.
Some symptoms of the condition can be treated with specialized drugs, but most patients still continue to suffer from cognitive dysfunctions and debilitating memory problems – making them unable to concentrate at work, at school, or at anything that requires some level of mental concentrations and memory recall.
About 22 participants involved in the study experienced considerable memory improvements and committed fewer errors when they attempted to remember different things in various locations. This was after they played the memory game over a period of time.
This group of people also scored high on the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale, a measurement that doctors use to evaluate the social, occupational, and psychological functioning of normal adults.
Almost all the participants reported they enjoyed playing the eight-hour game the brain training required, which was a good sign because lack of motivation or concentration is a major feature of schizophrenia.
“We need a way of treating the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as problems with episodic memory, but slow progress is being made toward developing a drug treatment,” said Barbara Sahakian, of the department of psychiatry at Cambridge University.
“This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that the memory game can help where drugs have so far failed. (And) because the game is interesting, even those patients with a general lack of motivation are spurred on to continue the training,” she added.