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Playing video games prevents Alzheimer’s, Canadian study reveals  - Daily News Egypt

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Playing video games prevents Alzheimer’s, Canadian study reveals 

Older adults who played Super Mario 64 display increased grey matter


Playing 3D platform games, such as Super Mario 64, helps in staving off mild cognitive impairment and perhaps even preventing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new Canadian study by Université de Montréal psychology professors Gregory West, Sylvie Belleville, and Isabelle Peretz.

Researchers at Université de Montréal conducted two separate studies in 2014 and 2017. Young adults in their twenties were asked to play logic and puzzle 3D video games on platforms like Nintendo 64 and findings showed that the grey matter in their hippocampus increased after training.

While playing 3D-platform video games has previously been shown to promote grey matter in the hippocampus in younger adults, in the current study, the researchers tested the impact of 3D-platform video game playing, like Super Mario 64, on grey matter in the hippocampus, cerebellum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of older adults.

The hippocampus is the region of the brain primarily associated with spatial and episodic memory, a key factor in long-term cognitive health. Grey matter is considered a marker for neurological disorders that can occur over time, including mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.

In their study, the researchers randomised 33 older adults who were 55 to 75 years old into three groups. The video game experimental group engaged in a 3D-platform video game experience over a period of six months. Additionally, an active control group took a series of self-directed, computerised music (piano) lessons, while a no-contact control group did not engage in any intervention.

The experiment lasted six months and was conducted in participants’ homes, where the consoles and pianos, provided by West’s team, were installed. Using two different measurements, cognitive performance tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers measured the variations in the volume of grey matter.

As a result of using those two measurements, the researchers observed brain activity and any changes in three areas: the DLPFC 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.

MRI test results showed that only the participants in the video-game cohort saw increases in grey matter volume in the hippocampus and cerebellum, and their short-term memory was also improved, according to the study.

“We hypothesised that older adults who trained on the 3D-platform game Super Mario 64 for 6 months would benefit from its prominent spatial navigation components. We therefore predicted that older adults who trained on platform games such as Super Mario 64 would display increased grey matter in the hippocampus,” say the researchers.

Grey matter also increases in the DLPFC 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, the study reveals.

“We hypothesised that older adults who trained on the 3D-platform game Super Mario 64 for 6 months would benefit from its prominent spatial navigation components. We therefore predicted that older adults who trained on platform games such as Super Mario 64 would display increased grey matter in the hippocampus,” say the researchers.

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https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/12/12/playing-video-games-prevents-alzheimers-canadian-study-reveals/
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