New training concept against dementia
Prevent cognitive impairment with a combination of physical and mental training.
Dementia cannot be cured, but it is possible to slow its progression: This is where the new research project “go4cognition” comes in, which Ontaris is conducting with researchers from the BG Klinikum Duisburg, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Hamburger-Fernhochschule. An interdisciplinary team of specialists from various institutions – including neuropsychologists, sports scientists, physicians, nursing scientists and software developers – is developing a system that improves or at least maintains at the current level the mental abilities of study participants with a preliminary stage of dementia.
The State of NRW is funding the research project for three years as part of the Life Sciences.NRW lead market competition. Ontaris is coordinating the project, in which the senior citizens’ centre Gute Hoffnung from Oberhausen is also involved. The project started on 1 November 2018.
Seniors train on the SpeedCourt
The project focuses on people between the ages of 65 and 85 who suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In this preliminary stage of Alzheimer’s dementia, mental performance is more impaired than is usually the case at the age and level of education. As a rule, however, this does not impair the daily lives of those affected.
The aim of this project is to use a combination of movement and memory requirements to slow down the loss of mental abilities and to incorporate the latest findings from the neurosciences.
Since cognitive performance can still be influenced at this stage, mental abilities are to be stabilised or improved through a combination of physical training and memory training – alone or in groups.
Physical fitness and memory in focus
In the first part of the new study, around 40 elderly people with MCI from the Oberhausen senior citizens’ centre are taking part in a training programme in the Athletikum Rhein Ruhr of the accident clinic. The heart of this movement laboratory is a “SpeedCourt”, a mat system equipped with sensors. It is normally used by competitive athletes and rehabilitants to train gait and running patterns, coordination, explosive starts and dynamic changes of direction after accidents. “The SpeedCourt is also very suitable for training the physical and cognitive abilities of people with MCI. The senior citizens of Oberhausen, who will be in the Athletikum Rhein Ruhr for six weeks and twelve training units, will complete a predetermined course with numbered contact fields several times on the SpeedCourt. The order of the fields to be approached – for example 1, 8, 7, 3 – is presented to the test persons only briefly on a screen. In order to find the right way, the test persons must remember the order of the numbers, search for the right fields on the speed course and then head for them in a targeted manner. This combination of cognitive training with physical exercise trains mental and physical fitness.
Regular changes of the task within the training program serve to increase the level of difficulty and to improve the learning effect for seniors.
Anti-Dementia Training in a Home for the Elderly
Based on the experience and results of the athletic training, Ontaris develops a new high-tech system that is mobile and can be set up quickly, unlike the SpeedCourt. In the future, this system will also be used cost-effectively in retirement homes such as ‘Gute Hoffnung’ (Good Hope) or in hospitals.
In a next step, patients with craniocerebral trauma could also benefit from such a training approach.
go4cognition: Further information
You would like to receive more information about go4cognition? Give us a call:
Stefan Orth (CEO)
Telefon: +49 (202) 37155-10
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