A recent study has suggested that videogames aid in improving mental cognition in elderly patients.

Published earlier this week in the journal PLoS ONE, the study analyzed 681 healthy 50 year olds and up and found that the ones that played a “Road Tour” videogame for at least 10 hours advanced their cognitive abilities by three years in just under a year. One of the research groups that played for an additional of four hours improved their cognitive abilities by four more years.

“The bad news about brain plasticity is that… we start slowing down in our early 30s and it continues,” said study autho Fredric Wolinsky, a professor of public health at the University of Iowa. “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.”

“It seems some remodeling of the brain is taking place, but we need to figure out exactly which parts of the brain are undegoing functional improvements,” he added. The report also mentioned that Wolinsky “receives no financial stake in the video game used in the research.”

“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

Pearl Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment at NYU Langone School of Medicine Director Dr. James Galvin explained how the study hints that doctors should seek better methods of brain-training.

“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 whom is 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 that we have an opportunity to make a real impact on older adults in terms of their mental ability.”

There have been recently been more and more studies that highlight the benefits of videogames. A recent study at Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands claimed that first-person shooter games improve memory.

Source: WebMD