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Doctors usually recommend that patients engage in activities that prepare patients for surgery, both physically and mentally. A recent study suggests that engaging in neurobics for brain exercise before surgery improves post-surgery outcomes and can also help patients avoid post-surgery delirium.

The study was a collaborative effort between researchers from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Researchers concluded that challenging oneself and maintaining mental activity through neurobics is a great way to prepare for surgery. They published the findings in the JAMA Surgery.

A simple yet effective neurobics study

The research featured 268 patients above 60 years old, and the scientists’ goal was to determine whether neurobics could prevent delirium. Each of the study patients received an electronic tablet through which they could play a brain game. The patients were required to play the mind game at least for one hour every day until the appointed surgery day.

Dr. Michelle Humeidan, the study’s lead author, revealed that some patients did not stick to the requirements but those who did demonstrate significant benefits. The study findings revealed that those who played the game had a 40% chance of experiencing postoperative delirium than patients who did not play the game. The researchers also discovered that the outcomes were better for patients who engaged in neurobics for more hours.

The game loaded on the tablet focus on cognitive exercise that target attention, speed, memory, and problem-solving abilities. Study participants who played the games for 5 to 10 hours slashed delirium risks by roughly 50 percent, while those who played the games for more than 10 hours reduced the risk by as much as 61 percent.

The research supports pre-surgery measures that doctors encourage patients to take up in preparation for surgery. The common activities include adopting a healthier diet and exercise. Delirium causes confusion in patients after surgery, and it is ubiquitous in older patients. Patients who experience post-surgery delirium usually have to stay at the hospital for longer. Any activity that can reduce or prevent delirium is thus a welcome relief because it will reduce hospital stays after surgery, reducing medical expenses.