It’s a common reality for too many to find a missing pair of keys perhaps in the pantry, or in the fridge, with an elderly family member in the house. But can something as a simple as a game make a difference? King’s College London signed up 7,000 people aged 50 and over for an experiment studying the effects of mental exercises and “brain training” online games on helping older people with “everyday skills.” Those over 60 years old who played the games at least five times a week were better able to perform “essential everyday tasks” such as “shopping and cooking”, according to their reported scores.

The BBC quotes Dr. Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society as saying, “Online brain training is rapidly growing into a multi-million pound industry and studies like this are vital to help us understand what these games can and cannot do.” He admits, however, that there is still a long way to go to determine whether these types of games can actually prevent or reverse dementia.

But while many firms in the biotechnology firm, such as Anavex Life Sciences (AVXL), which we follow here at Bell Tower Associates, are looking to the brain and receptors for a solution to the question of reversing Alzheimer’s, steps like brain games can be a first step to using the power and flexibility of the brain itself to delay or mitigate the onset of dementia or cognitive decline.