Highlighting JAPAN Vol.124 September 2018
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According to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the country’s number of dementia patients is expected to reach around seven million by 2025—including one person out of five over the age of sixty-five. One increasingly popular measure considered effective in clearing the fog of dementia is learning therapy.of Development, Aging and Cancer and the international Kumon Institute of Education tutoring school franchise.The curriculum is simple. First, patients with dementia read aloud stories they enjoyed as 16KATSUMI YASUKURAas a joint project between Professor Ryuta Kawashima of Tohoku University’s Institute 1children. Next, they do simple calculations and check their answers. (The level of difficulty is decided through placement tests taken beforehand.) The questions are selected according to the individual’s maximum learning ability and designed to be grasped quickly. After they complete the test, the patients are graded according to their reading ability and calculation results, discuss topics they have read about, and talk about recent incidents that have occurred around them. This is all accomplished in just thirty minutes. Reading aloud, calculating and communication as a form of learning is based on fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and light topography studies. fMRI measures brain activity using layered images obtained through MRI scans, while light topography is a unique technology that measures blood flow to the brain and visualizes brain activity using near-infrared spectroscopy. When a person PREVENTING DEMENTIA WITH LEARNING THERAPY T HE learning therapy method was created

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