Friday, September 6, 2013

Video Games Rejuvenate Brains of Adults

Video games are normally marketed toward teens and young adults.  But recent studies have shown the ones who are the real gaming addicts are the average of 35 years old.fMRI_BrainScanImage
Along with the compulsive game play, gamers tend to be more overweight and depressed than the rest of society.  But playing video games aren’t all bad for adults.  Especially if they are over the age of 60.


A study at the University of California San Francisco recently tested 3D-driving games on a group of older adults.  During the game, a joystick was used to drive a car through a winding road, the players were instructed to push a button when certain road signs popped up.
This study was meant to evoke a multitasking response.  Multitasking negatively affects short-term, or “working,” memory in both young and older adults.  The working memory is the capacity to hold and manipulate information for a certain period of time.
Senior citizens brains’ reveal their capacity to retain information and multitask are ignored by the brains  receptors.  Research showed that the brain’s capacity to ignore distractions, or insignificant information, diminishes with age.

Excerising the Brain

Crossword puzzles, online quizzes, and memory games are all great for building cognitive skills.  Studies are now being done, testing 3D video games for improving the working memory and also rebuilding multitasking skills.
Researchers found that the older adult brain was receptive to 12 hours of video game training, during the testing.  60-85 year old players improved their gaming performance sometimes surpassing 20 year old’s initial attempt results.
Older adults still have a level of plasticity in the brain, this allow it to change and adapt.  The study involving multitasking driving a vehicle and looking for signs supports real-world activity, so the subjects are more engaged in the activity.
Health Benefits of Video Games
  • Therapeutic – games act on neuronal mechanisms that activate positive emotions and the reward system.
  • Improved motor-skills – interactive games develop motor-skills and increase surrounding awareness.
  • Reduce stress/depression – games give “Type A” personalities time to relax and put them in a state of mindlessness.
  • Pain relief – games give distraction to those with severe physical pain.
  • Improve vision – cataract sufferers can improve vision by playing first-person shooter games like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty.
  • Improves decision making skills – games give practice for making real-world decisions, forcing players to react instinctively.
  • Keeps you happy in old age – there is a link between playing video games and mental well-being.
So for now, put the joystick down and start living life to the fullest.  That is until your drivers license gets taken away because your motor skills have weakened.  Then it’s advised to pick up the old habit and start improving your coordination.
Are you a gamer?  What kind of games do you think are good for improving multitasking skills?  Feel free to leave a comment below.
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Never Too Old for Video Games? – Video Game Addict
Video Game Rejuvenates Brains of Older Adults – TechNewsWorld
September 6, 2013
7 health benefits of playing video games -TheWeek
March 10, 2013
A Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger – NYTimes
September 4, 2013
UCSF Study on Multitasking Reveals Switching Glitch in Aging Brain – UCSF

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