UAH app aims to be the first to combine mental and physical training for older people

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An app developed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville aims to be the first that combines both mental and physical training for older people.

The app is called mPACT, which stands for mobile Physical Activity Training.

It combines brain training games, like memory, with low impact physical activity, like chair exercises. The app is currently being tested in Huntsville under a grant from the American Nurses Foundation. Users win gold star rewards for their successes and improvements.

"Once we get through with our research, and we find out that is does improve cognition, and that kind of thing, then we will offer it in the app store for free," said Dr. Lenora Smith, an assistant professor of nursing and distinguished educator in gerontological nursing at UAH.

The 50 test participants wear Fitbit devices to assess their heart rates as they use the app. Past studies have already assessed how older adults relate to the design of the app. It features larger type, and will eventually incorporate social media functions.

The app was developed at The University of Alabama in Huntsville through a collaboration that began in 2015 between the College of Nursing, the Department of Psychology and the Department of Art, Art History & Design.



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