Background: The use of Serious exerGames (SeG) as enriched environments (EE), which promotes cognitive simulation with physical activity in a positive emotional context, has been proposed to represent a powerful method to slow down the decline due to neurodegenerative diseases (ND), such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, so far, no SeG targeting EE has been tested in ND subjects.
Objective: This study aimed at evaluating the usability and short-term training effects of X-Torp, an action SeG designed for elderly ND subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD.
Methods: X-Torp is a SeG played using the Microsoft® Kinect™. 10 ND subjects and 8 healthy elderly controls (HEC) were enrolled in a 1-month program with three training sessions per week. Usability was evaluated through game time, game performance, the aerobic intensity level reached, perceived emotions, and perceived usability.
Results: All participants successfully completed the training program. ND subjects played less and had a lower game performance compared to HEC. During the sessions, ND subjects maintained a light intensity of aerobic activity, while HEC maintained a moderate intensity. Both groups experienced only positive emotions, and reported a 'moderate' to 'high' perceived competence, a 'moderate' game difficulty, and a 'high' interest in the game.
Conclusion: Usability results suggest that X-Torp represents a usable EE for healthy subjects and persons with MCI and AD. However, in order to reach moderate or high intensity of aerobic activity, X-Torp control modes should be adapted to become more physically stimulating.
Keywords: Aerobic activity; Alzheimer’s disease; cognition; enriched environment; mild cognitive impairment; sep serious game.