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Previous studies have found that playing video games has many benefits, ranging from improved problem-solving abilities in young people to improved operating skills in surgeons but the new study went a step further and suggested that video gaming could be a part of mental exercise routine for older people.

Surprisingly, the research was not funded by the gaming industry trying to increase the profits.

This is actually the first study that shows that playing complex video games could improve the cognitive functions that usually decline with age.
The researchers tested the cognitive abilities of 40 people in their 60s and 70s before and after playing the video game "Rise of Nations. The game involves a complex task of creating a society, including building cities, employing people and expanding territory. Half of the group received training before playing the game while the other half served as a comparison group and received no training.

People from the trained group performed better both on the game and on tests of memory, reasoning and the ability to identify rotated objects in comparison to those who were not trained.

This new finding offers welcome news for America's aging baby boomer population. Although performing multiple tasking such as cooking, answering the door, and talking on the phone may be simple for a young person, it may be a bit too much for an older person who would probably burn their food. This is actually what happens in everyday lives. Less than 24 hours of training improved mental and cognitive functioning and enhanced theability to function in some other tasks.

The fact that older brains in aging individuals may improve is important.
It is still needed to figure out whether people with better cognitive abilities are naturally attracted to video games and other complex tasks, or whether the act of playing the video games boosted cognitive ability.

The researchers are still speculating if the brains of people who enjoy video games were different to those people who didn't want the challenge.

A new experiment in combination with brain-imaging studies should be done to see the effect of the training on these people, and whether there's increased activity in the brain and new connections as well as to see if there's some correlation with actual brain functions.

While the studies keep finding benefits of playing video games, the experts warn against too much of a good thing, as playing video games can turn into an isolating experience that mitigates other health benefits.


This is testament that video games can be fun and be good for your health at the same time. As a long time gamer myself, I am particularly impressed with this article.