Results of a study on cognitive decline found aging brains may benefit from a video game. The study, published in the journal Nature, found attention and functional memory got a boost among older adults who played a custom-designed video game.
Dr. Adam Gazzaley of the University of California, San Francisco, one of the researchers involved in the study, told the Associated Press the results suggest that tailored video games could be used by aging adults or those with depression, dementia or post-traumatic stress, but he said more research is needed.
The study tested the ability to multitask among adults of all ages. After our 20s, the authors said, that ability begins a continued decline. The older we get, the worse our multitasking skills.
Researchers than asked older adults (age 68, on average) to spend a month playing a custom-built video game one hour a day, three days a week. Seniors that played a version of the game with multitasking elements showed improvement in attention and memory after a month playing the game.
“This study offers neural and behavioral evidence of generalized positive effects from video game training on cognitive abilities of older adults,” the authors wrote, “with enhancements comparable to those observed in younger adults who are habitual action video-game players: interference resolution, working memory and sustained attention.”
The benefit to seniors who played the game was evident six months later.
Outliers was happy to learn that seniors who trained, so to speak, also outperformed 20-somethings who played the game only once, despite age on their side.
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