Non-pharmacological prevention and correction of cognitive disorders

Cover Page

Cite item

Full Text


This review deals with research on the effect of board games on the prevention of cognitive disorders in the older population. It is known that activities using board games significantly enhance educational and intellectual abilities in children. However, data on the effect of such interventions in older patients (including those at risk for developing dementia) are few and equivocal. In the Bronx Aging Study, reading, board games, playing musical instruments, and dancing were associated with a reduced risk of cognitive disorders. The MoVIES study assessed the cognitive status of 942 participants aged 65 years and older, and a lower risk of dementia was found in those who devoted more than 1 hour per day to 'recreational activities'. The French study of the PAQUID cohort showed that those who regularly played board games had a 15% lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not.

This review attempts to systematize the known data (including functional MRI data) on how playing board games influences changes in cognitive function. The article covers memory mechanisms that are necessary components of cognitive health. Structures that are directly involved in long-term memory formation, especially explicit memory, including the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and entorhinal cortex, are described.

The article includes studies covering not only geographical, economic and social status, age, gender, and level of cognitive load, but also the different assessments measuring the effect board games have on the brain. Different assessment methods and functional MRI data have demonstrated the potential effectiveness of using board games in the prevention of both age-related and pathological intellectual ageing.

About the authors

Anton A. Raskurazhev

Research Center of Neurology

Author for correspondence.
Russian Federation, Moscow

Polina I. Kuznetsova

Research Center of Neurology

Russian Federation, Moscow

Marine M. Tanashyan

Research Center of Neurology

Russian Federation, Moscow


  1. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Popula- tion Division (2019). World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights. ST/ ESA/SER.A/423. URL: WPP2019_Highlights.pdf
  2. Richards M., Brayne C. What do we mean by Alzheimer’s disease? BMJ 2010; 341: c4670. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c4670. PMID: 20940218.
  3. World Health Organization. Neurological disorders: public health challenges. Geneva, 2006.
  4. Stern Y. Cognitive reserve in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. Lancet Neurol
  5. ; 11: 1006–1012. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70191-6. PMID: 23079557.
  6. Stern Y. What is cognitive reserve? Theory and research application of the reserve concept. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2002; 8: 448–460. DOI: 10.1017/ S1355617702813248. PMID: 11939702.
  7. Akbaraly T.N., Portet F., Fustinoni S. et al. Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly: results from the Three-City Study. Neurology 2009; 73: 854–861. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181b7849b. PMID: 19752452.
  8. Stern Y., Blumen H.M., Rich L.W. et al. Space Fortress game training and executive control in older adults: a pilot intervention. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn BAg- ing Neuropsychol Cogn 2011; 18: 653–677. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2011.613450. PMID: 21988726.
  9. Clarkson-Smith L., Hartley A.A. The game of bridge as an exercise in wor- king memory and reasoning. J Gerontol 1990; 45: 233–238. doi: 10.1093/geron- j/45.6.p233. PMID: 2229947.
  10. Nouchi R., Taki Y., Takeuchi H. et al. Brain training game improves exe- cutive functions and processing speed in the elderly: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One 2012; 7: e29676. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029676. PMID: 22253758.
  11. Verghese J., Lipton R.B., Katz M.J. et al. Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. N Engl J Med 2003; 348: 2508–2516. DOI: 10.1056/ NEJMoa022252. PMID: 12815136.
  12. Hughes T.F., Chang C.-C.H., Bilt J.V., Ganguli M. Engagement in reading and hobbies and risk of incident dementia: the MoVIES project. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2010; 25: 432–438. doi: 10.1177/1533317510368399. PMID: 20660517.
  13. Dartigues J.F., Foubert-Samier A., Le Goff M. et al. Playing board games, cognitive decline and dementia: a French population-based cohort study. BMJ Open 2013; 3: e002998. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002998. PMID: 23988362.
  14. Panphunpho S., Thavichachart N., Kritpet T. Positive effects of Ska game practice on cognitive function among older adults. Journal Med Assoc Thai 2013; 96: 358–364. PMID: 23539942.
  15. Cheng S.-T., Chow P.K., Song Y.-Q. et al. Mental and physical activities delay cognitive decline in older persons with dementia. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2014; 22: 63–74. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.01.060. PMID: 23582750.
  16. Atherton M., Zhuang J., Bart W.M. et al. A functional MRI study of high-level cognition. I. The game of chess. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 2003; 16: 26–31. doi: 10.1016/S0926-6410(02)00207-0. PMID: 12589885.
  17. Chen X., Zhang D., Zhang X. et al. A functional MRI study of high-level cognition: II. The game of GO. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 2003; 16: 32–37. doi: 10.1016/S0926-6410(02)00206-9. PMID: 12589886.
  18. Itoh K., Kitamura H., Fujii Y., Nakada T. Neural substrates for visual pat- tern recognition learning in Igo. Brain Res 2008; 1227: 162–173. DOI: 10.1016/j. brainres.2008.06.080. PMID: 18621033.
  19. Bilalić M., McLeod P., Gobet F. Specialization effect and its influence on memory and problem solving in expert chess players. Cogn Sci 2009; 33: 1117– 1143. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01030.x. PMID: 21585497.
  20. Wan X., Takano D., Asamizuya T. et al. Developing intuition: neural cor- relates of cognitive-skill learning in caudate nucleus. J Neurosci 2012; 32: 17492– 17501. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2312-12.2012. PMID: 23197739.
  21. Wan X., Cheng K., Tanaka K. Neural encoding of opposing strategy values in anterior and posterior cingulate cortex. Nat Neurosci 2015; 18: 752–759. doi: 10.1038/nn.3999. PMID: 25894290.
  22. Jung W.H., Lee T.Y., Yoon Y.B. et al. Beyond domain-specific expertise: neu- ral signatures of face and spatial working memory in baduk (go game) experts. Front Hum Neurosci 2018; 12: 319. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00319. PMID: 30131686.
  23. Balbag M.A., Pedersen N.L., Gatz M. Playing a musical instrument as a protective factor against dementia and cognitive impairment: a population-based twin study. Int J Alzheimers Dis 2014; 2014: 836748. DOI: 1155/2014/836748. PMID: 25544932.
  24. Eichenbaum H. Hippocampus; cognitive processes and neural represen- tations that underlie declarative memory. Neuron 2004; 44: 109–120. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.08.028. PMID: 15450164.
  25. Gaskin S., Tremblay A., Mumby D.G. Retrograde and anterograde object recognition in rats with hippocampal lesions. Hippocampus 2003; 13: 962–969. doi: 10.1002/hipo.10154. PMID: 14750658.
  26. Winocur G., Moscovitch M., Fogel S. et al. Preserved spatial memory follow- ing hippocampal lesions: effects of extensive experience in a complex environ- ment. Nat Neurosci 2005; 8: 273–275. doi: 10.1038/nn1401. PMID: 15723062.
  27. Laurent-Demir C., Jaffard R. Temporally graded retrograde amnesia for spa- tial information resulting from afterdischarges induced by electrical stimulation of the dorsal hippocampus in mice. Psychobiology 1997; 25: 133–140.
  28. Fanselow M.S. Contextual fear, gestalt memories, and the hippocampus. Be- hav Brain Res 2000; 110: 73–81. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(99)00186-2. PMID: 10802305.
  29. Танашян М.М., Бархатов Д.Ю., Глотова Н.А. и др. Эффективность нейропротекции у больных с хроническими цереброваскулярными заболеваниями. Вестник Российской военно-медицинской академии 2011; (3): 181–187.
  30. Cohen G.D., Perlstein S., Chapline J. et al. The impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults-2-year results. J Aging Humanit Arts 2007; 1: 5–22.
  31. Franklin D. Play games. There’s no better way to stay sharp as the years go by.
  32. Health 1997; November/ December: 77–82.
  33. Cohen G.D., Firth K.M., Biddle S. et al. The first therapeutic game specifi- cally designed and evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2008; 23: 540–551. doi: 10.1177/1533317508323570. PMID: 19001349.

Supplementary files

Supplementary Files

Copyright (c) 2020 Raskurazhev A.A., Kuznetsova P.I., Tanashyan M.M.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

СМИ зарегистрировано Федеральной службой по надзору в сфере связи, информационных технологий и массовых коммуникаций (Роскомнадзор).
Регистрационный номер и дата принятия решения о регистрации СМИ: серия ПИ № ФС 77-83204 от 12.05.2022.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies