Video Game Makes Older Brains Younger
Finally, video games have proven themselves good for something other than making hours disappear. Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco are convinced that one month’s practice with a brain training video game can rejuvenate the brains of people in their 60s, 70s and 80s so well that they will have the same ability to multitask as twenty-somethings. National Public Radio reports that the researchers set the oldsters (46 healthy people from 60 to 80-years-old) up with a game called NeuroRacers, in which players had to perform two tasks simultaneously: they had to use a joystick to navigate a winding road, and they had to hit a button whenever they saw a road sign in the form of a green circle. The participants played three times a week for an hour, with the game getting harder as they go better. After one month, the researchers found what they describe as “a dramatic improvement in memory and attention.” Wait, there’s more. NPR reports that the researchers also found that the training actually changed participants’ brains, so that brain wave patterns associated with focus got stronger, and so did connections between visual areas of the brain and areas involved in making decisions. And more. Six months after training, the improvements were still there.