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Brain Imaging Shows Playing Tetris Leads to Both Brain Efficiency and Thicker Cortex
Date:9/1/2009

Study is one of the first to investigate the effects of practice in the brain using two imaging techniques

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers at the Mind Research Network today announced the findings of a scientific study that used brain imaging and Tetris to investigate whether practice makes the brain efficient because it increases gray matter. Over a three-month period, adolescent girls practiced Tetris, a computer game requiring a combination of cognitive skills. The girls who practiced showed greater brain efficiency, consistent with earlier studies. Compared to controls, the girls that practiced also had a thicker cortex, but not in the same brain areas where efficiency occurred.

"One of the most surprising findings of brain research in the last five years was that juggling practice increased gray matter in the motor areas of the brain," said Dr. Rex Jung, a co-investigator on the Tetris study and a clinical neuropsychologist. "We did our Tetris study to see if mental practice increased cortical thickness, a sign of more gray matter. If it did, it could be an explanation for why previous studies have shown that mental practice increases brain efficiency. More gray matter in an area could mean that the area would not need to work as hard during Tetris play."

"We showed that practice on a challenging visuospatial task has an impact on the structure of the cortex, which is in keeping with a growing body of scientific evidence showing that the brain can change with stimulation and is in striking contrast with the pervasive and only-recently outmoded belief that our brain's structure is fixed," said Dr. Sherif Karama, a co-investigator at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

This study, published in the open-access journal BMC Research Notes, is one of the first to investigate the effects of practice in the br
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SOURCE Mind Research Network
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