Dakim Battles Dementia and Alzheimer’s

This morning I went to the gym, just like I’ve done 3-4 times a week for years.  I really try to push myself at the end of each workout.  My motivation comes from my desire to be healthy, active and have the longevity to spend many, many years with my wife and daughter.

But did you know your brain is a muscle?  What if I told you your brain could even have its own personal trainer?

It’s true, and it’s called Dakim BrainFitness.

A Brief History of Dakim

In the late 1990s, Dakim CEO and founder Dan Michel became very frustrated with the cognitive stimulation tools available to his father who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Taking matters into his own hands, he built a collection of rudimentary games to exercise his father’s brain. Over time, Dan’s creations become more complex and challenging.

When it became clear Dan’s analog tools had reached their potential, he realized it was time to go digital.  Dakim was born and Dan was driven with the thoughts of his father’s progress to create a memory training system that could be used over the long-term to create the type of improvement many scientific studies had promised.

Dakim’s Promise

A number of studies exist (read them at Dakim’s website) that correlate consistent mental stimulation with a decrease in Alzheimer’s and dementia.   One such study in the New England Journal of Medicine(1) found that seniors who consistently particpated in highly mentally stimulating leisure activities had a 63% reduced risk of dementia.

The Dakim BrainFitness system provides a mechanism through which seniors can regular exercise their brains in a way that is fun, non-repetitive and interactive such that they look forward to playing every day.

How it Works

Dakim BrainFitness is a purpose-built computer with a touch screen.  Headphones are optional depending on your location.  Dakim BrainFitness combines medically-proven brain exercises with a user interface that is so incredibly simple.  Combining audio, visual and eye-hand coordination, the games are played at a pace that is both fun and challenging.

Dakim BrainFitness trains across six cognitive domains and game takes about 20 minutes to complete.  As players improve on one domain or the other, the system increases the difficulty, enabling users to both play at their own pace yet still be challenges.  Dakim recommends the games be played 20 minutes per day, 3-5 times per week.

When you get it right, you get nothing but encouragement.  And when you get it wrong, you get nothing but encouragement.  Incorrect answers were communicated in a way that inspired me to continue, rather than frustrated me to quit.  And the content of the game was set in the era most relevant to the players – two examples of the little details that make the difference between a good idea and a effective, well-thought product.

Software updates and new game content is update via the Internet automatically — typically at night when nobody is playing.  Dakim Brain Fitness is maintenance free and require no computer skills to operate, clearing a huge usability hurdle for many seniors.

Pricing and How to Buy

Dakim BrainFitness comes in two models – a model designed for elder care communities and a home model.  Dakim shared with me only the pricing for the home model which was $2,499.  Dakim also charges a monthly $50 fee for software maintenace and the downloading of new games and lessons.   Dakim offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee – a testament to their confidence in their product.

My Throughts on Dakim BrainFitness

During Brookdale’s Brain Symposium, I spent nearly a day next to Dan Michel and his head of sales, Rick Sill.  On a perosnal and professional level, these are good guys who have the right intentions for elder care — a personal experience and the drive to help others benefit from a good idea.  From a product perspective, I was very impressed with the Dakim BrainFitness system.   It was easy to use, fun to play and based on sound science.  I thought the pricing for the device was quite reasonable – it was about the same as the cost of the Mac I am writing on now and my monthly gym membership.

Surely that is a small price to pay for a 63% reduced risk of dementia?

I recommend you take a look at Dakim BrainFitness.  Spend some time on their live product demonstration.  Their website is packed full of good materials and plenty of videos for those of you who hate reading page after page of web copy.

Sources:

  1. Verghese J, Lipton RB, Katz MJ, Hall CB, Derby CA, Kuslansky G, Ambrose A, Siliwinski M, Buschke H.  The New England Journal of Medicine, 348: 2508-2516.
  • http://www.theoaksofclearwater.com Tricia Colin

    I think this is a great idea using the Dakim modules but a least expensive way is to buy, rent or borrow a Nintendo DS which new retails for $130. Sometimes can buy bundles on EBay or other websites with a game called BrainAge. I bought this for my teenagers for Christmas and it is fun, interactive & a lot less expensive that Dakim.
    There are 2 or 3 different Brain Age games available that can jog, exercise or retrain your mind & memory.
    I work for a senior living community that uses similar exercises as therapy for our dementia residents.

  • Ryan Malone

    Tricia – Fantastic addition to the article. Can you recommend any specific game titles?

  • http://www.theoaksofclearwater.com Tricia Colin

    The games are for the Nintendo DS hand held game system . I bought the game for $15. I think there are a few other titles but the same type of brain exercises & challenges to makeit fun.
    You can go online & find some deals.
    I am going to feature Mona Johnson from the Tangled Neuron as a guest on my radio show next Monday, June 1st from 1 to 2 on WTAN 1340 am or listen online http://www.tantalk1340.com
    We will be talking about this subject.

  • http://www.dakim.com Rick Sill

    Ryan, thanks very much for taking the time to see the Dakim BrainFitness System in person and for your writeup on our technology. I think it is very important to mention that our system was designed for folks 65 years and older. The Nintendo DS platform is terrific, but if you ask a senior to use it you will hear two key comments:
    “I can’t see what is on the screen” and “I can’t read the buttons”. The other issue to mention is that our content is “Senior-Centric”, and offers professionally produced graphics, videos (some from 1930′s movies) and music. No other Brain Fitness product on the market offers that type of experience. Lastly, our system exercises six cognitive domains across five levels of challenge…..and self adjusts the challenge level in each domain in real time……..which essentially provides each user with a customized “show”.
    To summarize, we have built a Brain Fitness product for seniors to use long term in an attempt to stave off the symptoms of dementia. Teenagers and people in their 20′s, 30′s, 40′s and 50′s are not threatened by dementia. But Alzheimer’s afflicts 12% of the U.S. population at age 65 and 50% at age 85. Our CEO and Founder, Dan Michel, experienced firsthand the pain of Alzheimer’s when he cared for his dad over a twelve year period. Our product is the result of all his research on the subject and what seniors can tolerate. Tricia, I hope you have a chance to see the Dakim BrainFitness System in person soon.

  • http://www.theoaksofclearwater.com Tricia Colin

    Thanks Ryan for the detailed information on the dakim brain fitness technology. I did not realize all that it does. It sounds like a program well worth the investment. Thanks for sharing & keeping us current on the latest technology out there for our seniors.

  • http://www.insideeldercare.com/reviews/top-brain-fitness-programs-for-sustaining-mental-acuity/ Top Brain Fitness Programs | Inside Elder Care — Inside Elder Care

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