Playing Video Games May Help Seniors Retain Cognitive Function

February 15, 2016 | By Lorenzo Mejia

Most people think of video games as being mindless entertainment and hobbies for young adults and kids. Often the games are violent and seem to waste the time of the player. Recently, tests have shown that certain types of video games can improve the memory and reaction time of older adults. Some research has shown that games can improve the brain’s functions in older adults to that of someone in their 20’s. One study developed a game to simulate driving a car and pushing a button when they noticed signs on the road. After a month of playing the game, many of the participants were able to improve their short-term memory and remember names, dates, times and phone numbers. Researchers even used World of Warcraft to access gaming skills, motor skills, reaction time and cognitive ability. Many of the participants with lower scores improved their overall scores after two weeks, while those with who scored well on the first tests showed some improvement, but not to the same level.

Experts think gaming is a good activity for seniors and help to improve cognitive function. However, some of the games have small writing or are not easy to use. Many find downloading games to tablets or phones may be a bit easier and enables easier play without holding a controller for a long time. Scientists think these games show positive evidence of improvements in the brain, but cannot conclusively say whether is will slow aging or reverse it. More research is needed to determine if can prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s.
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