Navigation Links
Video Game May Help Keep Aging Brains Sharp

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Keeping the brain nimble in older adulthood may be as simple as playing a video game, according to researchers who compared the thought-process benefits of crossword puzzles with a computer program that increased users' mental speed and agility.

Analyzing 681 healthy people aged 50 and up, scientists found that those who played a "Road Tour" video game for at least 10 hours -- which required them to identify "vehicles" among an ever-faster array -- gained at least three years of cognitive (mental skill) improvement after one year. A group that received four additional hours of training with the game improved their thinking abilities by four years.

"The bad news about brain plasticity is that . . . we start slowing down in our early 30s and it continues. The good news is, with the right kind of training programs, we can regain what we've lost and maybe get people to higher levels," said study author Fredric Wolinsky, a professor of public health at the University of Iowa.

"It seems some remodeling of the brain is taking place, but we need to figure out exactly which parts of the brain are undergoing functional improvements," added Wolinsky, who has no financial stake in the video game used in the research.

The study is published May 1 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Wolinsky and his team split participants into four groups, further separating them into sets of those 50 to 64 and those over 65. One group was given computerized crossword puzzles and the three other groups repeatedly used the Road Tour game.

The video game centers on quickly identifying a type of vehicle and matching its symbol with the correct road sign among a circular array of possibilities. The player must succeed three out of every four tries to advance to the next level, which speeds up the process and adds more distractions.

Participants who played the video game scored significantly higher than those in the crossword puzzle group on tests involving executive function such as concentration, agile shifting from one mental task to another, and information processing speed. The mental improvement in the video game group ranged from 1.5 to nearly seven years compared to those doing crossword puzzles, the investigators found.

Wolinsky noted that many other brain-training games are available commercially, though few have scientific evidence to back up their cognitive improvement claims. Road Tour forces users to widen their field of vision in order to take in all the information required to succeed, he said.

"There's been considerable assumption that the visual field of view, the amount of area we take in, declines with age," he said. "For people to visualize the center and periphery requires them to shift their field of view to capture more information, and the training helps them be more successful at doing that. It's a retrainable skill."

An expert not involved with the new study called it "interesting and exciting."

Dr. James Galvin, director of the Pearl Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said that the study indicates that doctors should look more carefully at such brain-training programs to determine how they can be used clinically.

"It's really interesting to be able to demonstrate that these more challenging kinds of tasks . . . showed a significant benefit compared to crossword puzzles," said Galvin, also a professor of neurology and psychiatry. "The nature of the brain is that even later in life, we can still remodel it. This suggests we have an opportunity to make a real impact on older adults in terms of their mental ability."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has advice for healthy brain aging.

SOURCES: Fredric Wolinsky, Ph.D., professor of public health, University of Iowa, Iowa City; James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., professor, neurology, psychiatry, nursing, nutrition and population health, and director, Pearl Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment, NYU Langone School of Medicine, New York City; May 1, 2013, PLoS ONE

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Sexual objectification of female artists in music videos exists regardless of race, MU study finds
2. Animated characters keep it real in teen violence prevention videos
3. Study finds that patient education videos viewed before an operation may benefit patients
4. Video-assisted thoracic surgery valuable tool in lung cancer screening
5. New American Chemical Society video: Behind the scenes tour of an electronic nose lab
6. New Report Video Surveillance Market (2011 – 2016) by MarketsandMarkets
7. AuntMinnie Begins Live Video Stream of ISCT Conference Proceedings
8. Repelling the rays: New American Chemical Society video on sunscreens
9. USA Payday Forever Announces New Payday Loan Training Videos For Customers
10. CustomerCentric Selling® Unveils New Client Testimonial Videos to Showcase Significant Sales Success
11. Content Writing King Announces Cancellation Of Experimental Video Creation Process For Their Article Marketing Website
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, ... remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and ... Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , For ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer ... through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading ... a one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 ... brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live ... not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has dedicated his ... implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The procedure is ... to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to help ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to 2022" report to their offering. ... financial data derived from varied research sources to present unique ... on the market during the next five years, including a ... markets, regional and country level analysis. The report provides a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , , , WHEN: , , ... , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with free registration ... PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice President of ... Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such as innovative ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... N.J. , June 23, 2016  Guerbet announced ... Premier Inc.,s Supplier Horizon Award . ... year, Guerbet was recognized for its support of Premier ... creation through clinical excellence, and commitment to lower costs. ... to receive this recognition of our outstanding customer service ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: