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Research shows those with dementia can learn new tasks, retrieve abilities that have been lost

head shot of woman

Nidhi Mahendra

  • September 30, 2011 12:00pm

“Use it and improve it,” could become a new mantra in memory support and dementia care thanks to a five-year study by Communicative Sciences and Disorders Associate Professor Nidhi Mahendra at the Masonic Home for Adults in Union City.

Mahendra, who specializes in cognition and communication in seniors, partnered with the Masonic Home to study how technology can help patients with memory impairment learn a new skill or relearn a lost one.

She and her Cal State East Bay students work with residents with varying degrees of Alzheimer’s and memory loss, teaching them to use new technology – chiefly, computers – and then study how that technology can be used for cognitive rehabilitation. 

For example, computer games combine visual components and interactive elements with more traditional memory strategies, such as word lists.
Besides advancing the field of cognitive rehabilitation, the partnership is helping residents regain important skills, such as how to use a microwave, e-mail family, or regain regained confidence to sing in public.

Five years ago, this type of memory treatment didn’t exist. Fifteen years ago, it was inconceivable.

You can read  about Mehendra’s work, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, at: 


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