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The performance of serious games for enhancing attention in cognitively impaired older adults

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-02-04, 05:32 and posted on 2024-02-05, 12:37 authored by Alaa Abd-alrazaq, Israa Abuelezz, Eiman Al-Jafar, Kerstin Denecke, Mowafa Househ, Sarah Aziz, Arfan Ahmed, Ali Aljaafreh, Rawan AlSaad, Javaid Sheikh

Attention, which is the process of noticing the surrounding environment and processing information, is one of the cognitive functions that deteriorate gradually as people grow older. Games that are used for other than entertainment, such as improving attention, are often referred to as serious games. This study examined the effectiveness of serious games on attention among elderly individuals suffering from cognitive impairment. A systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials were carried out. A total of 10 trials ultimately met all eligibility criteria of the 559 records retrieved. The synthesis of very low-quality evidence from three trials, as analyzed in a meta-study, indicated that serious games outperform no/passive interventions in enhancing attention in cognitively impaired older adults (P < 0.001). Additionally, findings from two other studies demonstrated that serious games are more effective than traditional cognitive training in boosting attention among cognitively impaired older adults. One study also concluded that serious games are better than traditional exercises in enhancing attention. Serious games can enhance attention in cognitively impaired older adults. However, given the low quality of the evidence, the limited number of participants in most studies, the absence of some comparative studies, and the dearth of studies included in the meta-analyses, the results remain inconclusive. Thus, until the aforementioned limitations are rectified in future research, serious games should serve as a supplement, rather than a replacement, to current interventions.

Other Information

Published in: npj Digital Medicine
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2023

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 Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU