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Polk County residents are required for a preventative Alzheimer’s study at USF.

According to USF reports, video games can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50%. They’re now searching for people to take part in a wider survey.

The University of South Florida is conducting research to see whether playing computerized “brain games” will lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“To have something that is easily accessible, low-cost and engaging and fun to be able to utilize that in a way that could have some impact on older adult’s lives is really exciting,” said Dr. Aryn Bush, USF assistant professor and VP of Science and Translation at Reliance Medical Centers.

The research will be conducted at USF’s Lakeland and Winter Haven locations in collaboration with Reliance Medical Centers.

“You could be somebody that you have an outstanding physical health but when it comes to your behavioral and cognitive health if there is a decline that we don’t catch earlier, you’re going to be impacting your overall health,” said Dr. Carlos Romero, co-CEO, co-founder and chief medical officer of Reliance.

According to preliminary findings from the University of South Florida, electronic “brain games” reduced the risk of dementia by nearly half for some individuals.

“Speed of processing is one area that we can see a benefit and that’s how quickly we’re able to process information in a given moment. It’s very relevant for driving,” explained Dr. Bush.

The university recently secured a $44.4 million federal grant to continue its five-year research study on avoiding Alzheimer’s disease through cognitive training, but they can’t do it alone.
To make the study a success, researchers need 700 participants in Polk County.

“Alzheimer’s and related dementias differently impact minorities, yet they often are the most underrepresented in research and we have to change that. So, we’re very committed. We really want to be able to reach people who aren’t typically as well represented,” Dr. Bush said.

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