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Prompting programme helps dementia sufferers

6th February 2006

A new computer system is reported to enable dementia sufferers to have coherent conversations with family members and carers, as well as unlocking certain memories.

Scientists have created a multimedia programme to ease the memory loss associated with the onset of dementia, according to BBC News.

The specially designed computer system provides people with visual and audio representations which help to jog their memory and unlock past events.

Using the photos, videos and music as a prompt, the system has been found to encourage increased communication by sufferers, resulting in conversation with family and carers.

The positive results of initial studies have led to hopes that the computer interactive reminiscence and conversation aid system (Circa) could be commercially produced on a much wider basis, enabling more people to benefit from the prompting.

"It's very important because it also gives us a reference when we're trying to plan some activities around specific memories," explained Dundee care centre worker Marie Moran, adding that it provides extra information that would not normally be expressed.

Researchers say that the system is successful because it allows patients to take control, rather than carers, and that the touch screen design makes it easily accessible.