ScienceDaily (Jan. 3, 2012) —
Bingo, a popular activity in nursing homes, senior centers and
assisted-living facilities, has benefits that extend well beyond
socializing. Researchers found high-contrast, large bingo cards boost
thinking and playing skills for people with cognitive difficulties and
visual perception problems produced by Alzheimer's disease (AD) and
Parkinson's disease (PD).
"The general finding of improved performance across healthy and
afflicted groups suggests the value of visual support as an
easy-to-apply intervention to enhance cognitive performance,"
researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Boston University and
Bridgewater State University wrote.
The findings were reported in the article, "Bingo! Externally
supported performance intervention for deficit visual search in normal
aging, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease," in the journal Aging,
Neuropsychology, and Cognition.
As people age, they begin to lose sensitivity to perceive contrasts.
It is exacerbated in people with dementia, according to Grover C.
Gilmore, a psychologist and dean of the Mandel School of Applied Social
Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
Bingo is often used in nursing homes and senior centers as a social
activity, and being socially engaged helps keep the mind healthy.
But little is known about how visual perception problems -- common in
aging players -- affect the way these people think and play, said
Gilmore, who has done extensive testing in his Perception Lab at Case
Researchers tested cards of different sizes, contrasts and visual
complexities to find out how visual perception problems impact cognitive
functions among the study's participants: 19 younger adults, 14
individuals with probable AD, 13 AD-matched healthy adults, 17
non-demented individuals with Parkinson's disease and 20 PD-matched
When study participants played bingo on computer-generated cards that
were manipulated for brightness, size and contrast, the researchers
could compare the performance among the different age and health groups.
With some contrast and size changes to the card, researchers reported
improvement in performances. For those with mild dementia, they could
perform at levels of their healthy peers. Little change was reported for
people with more severe dementia.
Gilmore and the study's lead investigator, Alice Cronin-Golomb from
Boston University, have collaborated for two decades on projects that
look at visual sensory deficits and cognition among people with
dementia. For PD individuals, driving is affected by low contrasts as
demonstrated in simulated fog situations.
They have found that boosting contrast in the living environment and
also at the table enables people with dementia -- who have lost the
ability to distinguish between similar-contrast objects -- to move
safely around their homes and improve their eating.
For example, putting a black sofa in a white room would improve the
contrast of the room and make it easier for individuals to move about.
Additionally, they found that individuals with dementia actually eat
more if they use a white plate and tableware on a dark tablecloth or are
served food that contrasts the color of the plate.
Boosting contrast is among interventions known as Externally
Supported Performance Interventions (ESPI). The researchers say these
interventions allow people with dementia and others with visual
perception deficits to live independently longer, perform daily tasks
and enjoy life and having such pleasures as reading a book.
Other contributors to the study are: Boston University researchers
Thomas M. Laudate, Sandy Neargarder (also from Bridgewater), Tracy E.
Dunne, Karen D. Sullivan and Pallavi Joshi and Case Western Reserve
University researcher Tatiana M. Riedel.
The above story is reprinted from
materials provided by Case
Western Reserve University.
- Thomas M. Laudate, Sandy Neargarder, Tracy E. Dunne, Karen D.
Sullivan, Pallavi Joshi, Grover C. Gilmore, Tatiana M. Riedel, Alice
Externally supported performance intervention for deficient visual
search in normal aging, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Aging,
Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 2011; : 1 DOI: 10.1080/13825585.2011.621930