Friday, October 18, 2013

Playing Video Games May Increases Cognitive Control in Seniors, Study Finds


While studies have pointed to negative consequences of children’s excessive video-game playing, when adults try their hand at these games, it may increase their cognitive control, according to a Nature study featured in "Journal Digest" in today's  Psychiatric News.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, created a 3-D racecar video game that measured cognitive control in adults who were instructed to notice specific road signs while driving full speed—virtually. After one month of video-game participation, adults aged 60 to 85 were evaluated for alterations in multitasking, working memory, and attention sustainment. Results showed that multitasking capabilities, working memory, and attention sustainment were dramatically increased and sustained six months after the video-game training. In addition, multitasking capabilities of seniors surpassed that of young adults who played the game for the first time.

The authors noted that this is the first study to show how custom-designed video games can be used to assess cognitive abilities across the lifespan. If the research is replicated, this could be a beneficial application to other brain-related disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and dementia, which are also associated with deficits in cognitive control, the authors concluded.

To read more about emerging therapies for cognitive disorders and factors that may contribute to cognitive disorders, see the Psychiatric News articles "New Target Emerges in Search for Alzheimer’s Treatment" "Hearing Loss in Seniors Linked to Cognitive Decline."

(Image: Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock)

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