Video Game Improves Older People’s Mental Skills
Older adults can improve their mental speed and agility by playing a simple video game called “Road Tour,” a study shows. Study author Fredric Wolinsky, a professor of public health at the University of Iowa reports that although brain plasticity starts slowing down by the age of 30, the brain can be trained to regain its abilities and take them to higher levels.
The study involved 681 healthy individuals aged 50 and above who were split into four groups. One group was assigned to do computerized crossword puzzles and the other three groups were asked to play the video game for at least 10 hours. The video game required them to identify quickly identify a type of vehicle and match its symbol with the correct road sign among an array of choices. The player must correctly make three out of four matches to advance to the next level, which increases in speed and adds more distractions.
After these, the participants were given tests to evaluate executive brain function such as concentration, ability to shift from one mental task to another, and information processing speed. The results showed that participants who played the video game scored significantly higher than those in the crossword puzzle group. Participants in the video game group had a mental improvement that ranged from 1.5- 7 years compared to those who did crossword puzzles.
The study, which was recently published in the journal PLoS ONE suggests that doctors should look more seriously at more challenging brain-training programs to determine how they can be used clinically, according to Dr. James Galvin, director of the Pearl Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City.
Salamon, M. Video Game May Help Keep Aging Brains Sharp. HealthDay.