Video Game Play Sharpens Elderly Minds

May 14 [Tue], 2013, 3:16

Wanna help grandma keep her mind sharp? Consider throwing out her crossword puzzles and giving her a joystick. Because a study finds that elderly people who played a video game for at least 10 hours gained three years of protection from cognitive decline. Gamers also became quicker at processing information. The research is in the journal PLoS ONE. [Fredric D. Wolinsky et al., ]

Almost 700 subjects were divided into two groups: those between the ages of fifty and sixty-four and people aged sixty-five and older. Members from each age group were asked to either work on a crossword puzzle or play a video game called Road Tour, which involves matching fleeting images of car types and road signs.

In both age groups, those who played the video game showed improvements on executive functionwhich includes memory, attention, problem solving skills and perceptionwhen tested a year later.

Some of the gamers were given four additional hours of training with the game. And their cognitive improvement lasted an additional year. So video games might help ward off cognitive decline. Just dont play Road Tour while actually driving.

Amy Kraft

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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