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The Effectiveness of Serious Games on Cognitive Processing Speed Among Older Adults With Cognitive Impairment: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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submitted on 2024-04-22, 10:03 and posted on 2024-04-22, 10:03 authored by Alaa Abd-alrazaq, Arfan Ahmed, Haitham Alali, Ahmad Mohammad Aldardour, Mowafa Househ

Background

Human cognitive processing speed is known to decline with age. Human cognitive processing speed refers to the time that an individual takes from receiving a stimulus to reacting to it. Serious games, which are video games used for training and educational purposes, have the potential to improve processing speed. Numerous systematic reviews have summarized the evidence regarding the effectiveness of serious games in improving processing speed, but they are undermined by some limitations.

Objective

This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of serious games on the cognitive processing speed of an older adult population living with cognitive impairment.

Methods

A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted. Two search sources were used in this review: 8 electronic databases and backward and forward reference list checking. A total of 2 reviewers independently checked the eligibility of the studies, extracted data from the included studies, and appraised the risk of bias and quality of the evidence. Evidence from the included studies was synthesized using a narrative and statistical approach (ie, meta-analysis), as appropriate.

Results

Of the 548 publications identified, 16 (2.9%) RCTs eventually met all eligibility criteria. Very-low-quality evidence from 50% (8/16) and 38% (6/16) of the RCTs showed no statistically significant effect of serious games on processing speed compared with no or passive intervention groups (P=.77) and conventional exercises (P=.58), respectively. A subgroup analysis showed that both types of serious games (cognitive training games: P=.26; exergames: P=.88) were as effective as conventional exercises in improving processing speed.

Conclusions

There is no superiority of serious games over no or passive interventions and conventional exercises in improving processing speed among older adults with cognitive impairment. However, our findings remain inconclusive because of the low quality of the evidence, the small sample size in most of the included studies, and the paucity of studies included in the meta-analyses. Therefore, until more robust evidence is published, serious games should be offered or used as an adjunct to existing interventions. Further trials should be undertaken to investigate the effect of serious games that specifically target processing speed rather than cognitive abilities in general.

Trial Registration

PROSPERO CRD42022301667; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=301667

Other Information

Published in: JMIR Serious Games
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.2196/36754

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

JMIR Publications

Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center for Precision Health - WCM-Q
  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • Rumailah Hospital - HMC
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU

Methodology

A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted. Two search sources were used in this review: 8 electronic databases and backward and forward reference list checking. A total of 2 reviewers independently checked the eligibility of the studies, extracted data from the included studies, and appraised the risk of bias and quality of the evidence. Evidence from the included studies was synthesized using a narrative and statistical approach (ie, meta-analysis), as appropriate.