Brain-training website opens up its data banks to researchers

As more and more of us turn to the internet to engage in ‘brain training’ activities, from Sudoku to Rubik’s Cube puzzles, one online gaming arena is utilising the information generated from users’ activities to help further the study of the functioning of the brain.

Luminosity, which went live in 2007, contains games such as Memory Matrix, asking users to recall a pattern of tiles, and Waiter, which requires players to remember the names and orders of a succession of customers. Games are designed to test a variety of cognitive skills – speed, memory, attention, problem solving, and flexibility – and, over time, improve users’ mental functions.

The technology assesses individuals before they begin their training with a ‘fit test’, and uses their performance in various games to measure how their ability progresses over time.

Hooked on Music

A new, highly addictive online game has been launched attempting to discover the science behind the attractiveness of a musical tune. This new research will gather data from anyone willing to participate, with the aim of providing insights that lead to possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Hooked on Music features three games to test the listener: picking the catchiest tune, muting a song and seeing if you can keep in time, and a challenge to recognise as many songs as possible in a row. There are songs from every decade from the 1940s onwards, and the games are designed so that anyone can play them.

Alzheimer’s Society launches new Dementia Café

A new and innovative project called the Dementia Café has been launched by the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society.

Opening later this month, the Dementia Café will provide an opportunity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, and their carers, to get out of the house and socialise. The hope is that it will give carers some relief from their full-time roles.

Visitors to these cafés will be able to share their accounts of living with Alzheimer’s, while experienced carers will be able to offer advice to those who are new to this role. The café will also host a variety of specialist speakers, including health and social care professionals and representatives from the local community, talking about their areas of expertise.