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HEALTH Some Video Games are Good for Older Adults' Brains
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  1. #1
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    3 Some Video Games are Good for Older Adults' Brains

    Some video games are good for older adults' brains

    Date: December 6, 2017
    Source: Université de Montréal

    Summary:

    Playing 3D-platform video games on a regular basis may improve cognitive functions in seniors and increase grey matter in a brain structure called the hippocampus, a new study suggests.

    FULL STORY

    If you're between 55 and 75 years old, you may want to try playing 3D platform games like Super Mario 64 to stave off mild cognitive impairment and perhaps even prevent Alzheimer's disease. That's the finding of a new Canadian study by Université de Montréal psychology professors Gregory West, Sylvie Belleville and Isabelle Peretz. Published in PLOS ONE, it was done in cooperation with the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM), Benjamin Rich Zendel of Memorial University in Newfoundland, and Véronique Bohbot of Montreal's Douglas Hospital Research Centre.

    In two separate studies, in 2014 and 2017, young adults in their twenties were asked to play 3D video games of logic and puzzles on platforms like Super Mario 64. Findings showed that the gray matter in their hippocampus increased after training. The hippocampus is the region of the brain primarily associated with spatial and episodic memory, a key factor in long-term cognitive health. The gray matter it contains acts as a marker for neurological disorders that can occur over time, including mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's.

    West and his colleagues wanted to see if the results could be replicated among healthy seniors. The research team recruited 33 people, ages 55 to 75, who were randomly assigned to three separate groups. Participants were instructed to play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, take piano lessons (for the first time in their life) with the same frequency and in the same sequence, or not perform any particular task. The experiment lasted six months and was conducted in the participants' homes, where the consoles and pianos, provided by West's team, were installed.

    The researchers evaluated the effects of the experiment at the beginning and at the end of the exercise, six months later, using two different measurements: cognitive performance tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure variations in the volume of gray matter. This enabled them to observe brain activity and any changes in three areas:

    the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that controls planning, decision-making and inhibition;
    the cerebellum that plays a major role in motor control and balance; and
    the hippocampus, the centre of spatial and episodic memory.

    According to the MRI test results, only the participants in the video-game cohort saw increases in gray matter volume in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Their short-term memory also improved. The tests also revealed gray matter increases in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and cerebellum of the participants who took piano lessons, whereas some degree of atrophy was noted in all three areas of the brain among those in the passive control group.

    What mechanism triggers increases in gray matter, especially in the hippocampus, after playing video games? "3-D video games engage the hippocampus into creating a cognitive map, or a mental representation, of the virtual environment that the brain is exploring.," said West. "Several studies suggest stimulation of the hippocampus increases both functional activity and gray matter within this region."

    Conversely, when the brain is not learning new things, gray matter atrophies as people age. "The good news is that we can reverse those effects and increase volume by learning something new, and games like Super Mario 64, which activate the hippocampus, seem to hold some potential in that respect," said West. Added Belleville: "These findings can also be used to drive future research on Alzheimer's, since there is a link between the volume of the hippocampus and the risk of developing the disease."

    "It remains to be seen," concluded West, "whether it is specifically brain activity associated with spatial memory that affects plasticity, or whether it's simply a matter of learning something new."

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1206141648.htm
    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace .

  2. #2
    Interesting, but in the end it's genetics that plays the biggest roll in brain longevity. Not sure, however, I'd want to be 90+ with all my marbles and the rest of my body going to hell like we see from time to time.

  3. #3
    Prepare the flames, now, as what I need to say is far from popular opinion and wisdom.

    I have seen kids who had (measured) learning differences use extensive computer game playing where it helped (again making a measured improvement) with getting their brains to work much more smoothly in a more integrated way.

    The choice of games (type) was of course quite important as was having the presence of a loving, supportive adult in the room, not playing but functioning as a supportive coach if you will. The kind of game involved using both hands on the controller as opposed to just mashing one button the whole time (non-techie description, sorry.)

    Whereas popular wisdom is to limit time spent playing, I've seen kids, who needed this as therapy, exhibit phenomenal concentration and perseverance reaching frustrating goals and as a by product achieve noticeable therapeutic effects and eventually they mature out of that game mode and shift their goals and activities but take along the therapeutic integration of their brain and dexterity coordination.

    Flame away.

  4. #4
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    sharp brains as we age depend on nutrition, blood flow and rest.

    Eat right........exercise from walking (much safer than running as you age) and weight training (particularly the legs) increases blood flow which baths the brain in nutrients if you have eaten correctly..........and a proper nights sleep on a consistent basis allows for growth hormone to replenish the body's organ functions......

    Genetics plays a huge foundation factor but life style choices have been show in genetic research over the past decade to either turn off bad genes or turn on good genes depending on what choices are made......so you give yourself the chance to place odds in your favor rather than against if you make the correct decisions....particularly as you age.

  5. #5
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    Hummm....akin to muscle tissue; use it or loose it...

    So 3D video gaming replaces being regularly "within" the food chain where once you leave the hearth your "personal radar" is on fine gain to your surroundings so you're not eaten, killed by another band or miss an opportunity to eat yourself....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjoi View Post
    Prepare the flames, now, as what I need to say is far from popular opinion and wisdom.

    I have seen kids who had (measured) learning differences use extensive computer game playing where it helped (again making a measured improvement) with getting their brains to work much more smoothly in a more integrated way.

    The choice of games (type) was of course quite important as was having the presence of a loving, supportive adult in the room, not playing but functioning as a supportive coach if you will. The kind of game involved using both hands on the controller as opposed to just mashing one button the whole time (non-techie description, sorry.)

    Whereas popular wisdom is to limit time spent playing, I've seen kids, who needed this as therapy, exhibit phenomenal concentration and perseverance reaching frustrating goals and as a by product achieve noticeable therapeutic effects and eventually they mature out of that game mode and shift their goals and activities but take along the therapeutic integration of their brain and dexterity coordination.

    Flame away.
    No flames necessary. Games that encourage spatial thinking and strategy are absolutely useful as long as they don't get played mindlessly. We let DD play things like Minecraft (offline). These games also promote hand-eye coordination. There was an article posted here not that long ago about how the Navy was looking at replacing its $30,000-apiece specially designed periscope controllers with Playstation controllers, because it took about an hour to train sailors to use them, rather than the day or more for the expensive one. And, the interface is familiar to more and more people. Surgeons, pilots, and probably many other professions will adopt similar controllers, so there is a legitimate reason to include some gaming.

    I would not be at all surprised if there weren't specialized environments in the near future that incorporated technology like the Rift to allow the elderly to get "outside" even if they have severe mobility problems.
    E Deploribus Unum

    Oderint dum metuant

    Every day is a JDAM day

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by cjoi View Post
    Prepare the flames, now, as what I need to say is far from popular opinion and wisdom.

    I have seen kids who had (measured) learning differences use extensive computer game playing where it helped (again making a measured improvement) with getting their brains to work much more smoothly in a more integrated way.

    The choice of games (type) was of course quite important as was having the presence of a loving, supportive adult in the room, not playing but functioning as a supportive coach if you will. The kind of game involved using both hands on the controller as opposed to just mashing one button the whole time (non-techie description, sorry.)

    Whereas popular wisdom is to limit time spent playing, I've seen kids, who needed this as therapy, exhibit phenomenal concentration and perseverance reaching frustrating goals and as a by product achieve noticeable therapeutic effects and eventually they mature out of that game mode and shift their goals and activities but take along the therapeutic integration of their brain and dexterity coordination.

    Flame away.
    I agree, and like others alluded, its a use it or loose it ... to some extent. Point I was making was relative to the Alzheimer's remarks in the OP where they imply it may help later in life. Yeah, it may help a bit but I still hold to my statement that the majority of what determines brain viability as we age is genetic. If a person has both parents who start dropping marbles in their 50s and have lost most of their marbles by their 70s, chances are that's going to be your fate as well.

  8. #8
    Besides, video games these days have some really impressive plotlines that come with them, in a lot of cases. More than a few Fallout fans on this board alone.

    Then you get into the sandbox stuff, like Minecraft, 7 Days to Die, Rust, and so on and you've got the ability to build your own structures in-game. If that's not a creativity encourager, I don't know what would qualify.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by FaithfulSkeptic View Post
    I agree, and like others alluded, its a use it or loose it ... to some extent. Point I was making was relative to the Alzheimer's remarks in the OP where they imply it may help later in life. Yeah, it may help a bit but I still hold to my statement that the majority of what determines brain viability as we age is genetic. If a person has both parents who start dropping marbles in their 50s and have lost most of their marbles by their 70s, chances are that's going to be your fate as well.
    Course, it's possible that with gaming you'd start dropping marbles in your 60s and lose them in your 80s instead. There's something to be said for added cognitive longevity.

  10. #10
    P P, good point re nutrition. When the anecdote about the woman (neurologist?) overcoming her DH’s dementia giving him a couple of Tbsps of coconut fat, daily, first hit TB a few years back, I had been struggling a bit with name/word recall. After trying it for a couple of months those problems disappeared. Also, having MS since the 1960’s, I have a bit of experience with CNS plaques causing random symptoms which wax and wane and the coconut fat helps all those issues quite nicely as well. I never have been a very compliant patient and I’m glad the MS Society’s dietary fat restrictions never seemed logical to me. Like most folks on TB I love learning and expanding my knowledge base ( like getting my ham tech license a couple of years ago. ) IMHO, the brain is indeed more plastic than we used to think.

    A friend of ours (INTJ, Stanford techie, well into her 70s ) went back for another PhD, this time in gerontology. Her thesis was about how the lifelong learning habits of Mensa members are strongly protective against dementia. There was IIRC a 60 Minutes segment about a prospective study in a Florida retirement community of lifestyle and dementia which found that REGARDLESS OF BRAIN AUTOPSY EVIDENCE the more socially involved and interactive one remains the less likely one is to exhibit sympoms of dementia. Sooo...looks like Mz Housecarl is also smack on with the “use it or lose it,” although, fortunately, it also appears that genetics may not be the inexorable sentence to which we used to resign ourselves.

  11. #11
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    I have heard that a new frontier in medicine/video games is for prescription video games which are designed to enhance neurological function.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by cjoi View Post
    P P, good point re nutrition. When the anecdote about the woman (neurologist?) overcoming her DH’s dementia giving him a couple of Tbsps of coconut fat, daily, first hit TB a few years back, I had been struggling a bit with name/word recall. After trying it for a couple of months those problems disappeared. Also, having MS since the 1960’s, I have a bit of experience with CNS plaques causing random symptoms which wax and wane and the coconut fat helps all those issues quite nicely as well. I never have been a very compliant patient and I’m glad the MS Society’s dietary fat restrictions never seemed logical to me. Like most folks on TB I love learning and expanding my knowledge base ( like getting my ham tech license a couple of years ago. ) IMHO, the brain is indeed more plastic than we used to think.

    A friend of ours (INTJ, Stanford techie, well into her 70s ) went back for another PhD, this time in gerontology. Her thesis was about how the lifelong learning habits of Mensa members are strongly protective against dementia. There was IIRC a 60 Minutes segment about a prospective study in a Florida retirement community of lifestyle and dementia which found that REGARDLESS OF BRAIN AUTOPSY EVIDENCE the more socially involved and interactive one remains the less likely one is to exhibit sympoms of dementia. Sooo...looks like Mz Housecarl is also smack on with the “use it or lose it,” although, fortunately, it also appears that genetics may not be the inexorable sentence to which we used to resign ourselves.
    Small side note: coconut oil makes the best popcorn. Guess I need to make a bit more of that!

  13. #13
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    So I guess Hearts and Mahjong don't count?
    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace .

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    So I guess Hearts and Mahjong don't count?
    You want to venture into Commiefornia? I have a vintage Mahjong set...we can hunt up a couple more folks to play!



    Also, just because the results of the Florida dementia study were so unexpected, it bears repeating that genetics may be overcome by behavior and lifestyle because brain autopsies EVIDENCING THE MOST EVIDENCE OF DEMENTIA belonged to individuals WITH NO IN VIVO SYMPTOMS WHO WERE THE MOST SOCIALLY ENGAGED. Don’t know for certain, however, my GUESS is that “living on TB2K” may -at least partially- fill that interactive component. At any rate, it’s one more reason I’m grateful for Dennis’s cyberhome, here.
    Last edited by cjoi; 12-08-2017 at 02:49 AM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by cjoi View Post
    You want to venture into Commiefornia? I have a vintage Mahjong set...we can hunt up a couple more folks to play!



    Also, just because the results of the Florida dementia study were so unexpected, it bears repeating that genetics may be overcome by behavior and lifestyle because brain autopsies EVIDENCING THE MOST EVIDENCE OF DEMENTIA belonged to individuals WITH NO IN VIVO SYMPTOMS WHO WERE THE MOST SOCIALLY ENGAGED. Don’t know for certain, however, my GUESS is that “living on TB2K” may -at least partially- fill that interactive component. At any rate, it’s one more reason I’m grateful for Dennis’s cyberhome, here.
    Amen to that. Lord knows I'm no social lion, and without the internet I'd have a terrible time socializing.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=cjoi;6694906]You want to venture into Commiefornia? I have a vintage Mahjong set...we can hunt up a couple more folks to play!.. . /QUOTE]

    I've gotten so used to the cyber version I'm not sure I'd recall how to play with real tiles. Love the game, however.

    Also, agree with Blacknarwhal about the value of the forum . . . DH's physical condition continues to deteriorate and communication with him is becoming more difficult. The forum keeps me sane by offering mental discourse at any time of the day or night and keeps me connected to the outside world even as my own is growing more limited.
    Last edited by Seeker; 12-08-2017 at 01:56 PM.
    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace .

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=Seeker;6695270]
    Quote Originally Posted by cjoi View Post
    You want to venture into Commiefornia? I have a vintage Mahjong set...we can hunt up a couple more folks to play!.. . /QUOTE]

    I've gotten so used to the cyber version I'm not sure I'd recall how to play with real tiles. Love the game, however.

    Also, agree with Blacknarwhal about the value of the forum . . . DH's physical condition continues to deteriorate and communication with him is becoming more difficult. The forum keeps me sane by offering mental discourse at any time of the day or night and keeps me connected to the outside world even as my own is growing more limited.
    A bit dated, but still appropriate:

    LORD, BLESS MY ONLINE FRIENDS
    To: God.com

    Every single evening
    As I’m lying here in bed,
    This tiny little prayer
    Keeps running through my head

    God bless all my family
    Wherever they may be
    Keep them warm and safe from harm
    For they’re so close to me.

    And God, there is one more thing
    I wish that you could do:
    Hope you don’t mind me asking
    Please bless my computer too.

    Now I know that it’s unusual
    To bless a motherboard,
    But listen just a second
    While I explain it to you, Lord.

    You see that little metal box
    Holds more than odds and ends.
    Inside those small compartments
    Rest so many of my friends.

    I know so much about them
    By the kindness that they give.
    And this little scrap of metal
    Takes me in to where they live.

    By faith is how I know them
    Much the same as you.
    We share in what life brings us
    And from that our friendships grew.

    Please take an extra minute
    From your duties up above,
    To bless those in my address book
    That’s filled with so much love.

    Wherever else this prayer may reach
    To each and every friend,
    Bless each e-mail inbox
    And each person who hits ‘send’.

    When you update your Heavenly list
    On your own CD-ROM,
    Bless everyone who says this prayer
    Sent up to GOD.com

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by FaithfulSkeptic View Post
    Interesting, but in the end it's genetics that plays the biggest roll in brain longevity. Not sure, however, I'd want to be 90+ with all my marbles and the rest of my body going to hell like we see from time to time.
    Now science has proven that family history of longevity is only 20% of the factor, you can do a lot with taking care of the other 80% with nutrition, supplements, exercise and controlling stress.
    God Bless Us & God Bless America!

  19. #19
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    Can someone suggest other games that may help? I do word games and puzzle games like sudoku, and the match-3 type games, but those are not 3D. Also, I don't have a PlayStation; just my iPhone and iPad. Thanks.

  20. #20
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    I don't either, bev, but I believe any game that challenges your mind is going to be good for you (including picture puzzles)! The article mentions learning to play the piano so why not other skills also? Its the "learning" that stretches your mind. (I have a friend with early dementia - she does counted cross stitch and quilt making.)
    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace .

  21. #21
    Brain health as well as over all health is dependent upon proper methylation. Methylation controls gene expression and if kept optimized it can somewhat help in the aging process etc by lessening defects that occur during DNA replication. Yes it is genetics but healthy life style can help keep it at bay longer. Good quality B vitamins primarily active FOLATE (not folic acid) Methyl-B12 etc........

    One video I found quickly but there are a lot of others. I encourage people to research this.



    16 min

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