19 December 2008

Video Games are Good for the Brain!

My grandmother went through Alzheimers to the point of becoming a total vegetable who couldn't take care of herself or have conversations. My mother has forgotten some things and when she forgot her granddaughter's name, my dad marched her into the doctor for some help. She's on medication now and dad says there's an improvement. Good. I don't want what happened to my grandmother to happen to my mom. Of course this makes me all paranoid about what's in my future. The area between Alzheimers and being naturally scatter-witted is a gray one.

I recently read a few stories about the effect of video games on the "older" population. These articles cited a University of Illionois project, funded by the National Institute of Aging. In a nutshell, the study had 2 groups- the control group that didn't play video games and the test group that spent a month playing RISE OF NATIONS which is all about creating a civilization (set up cities, merchants, create an army and more). This game was chosen because it requires strategy from the players. The people in this little experiment were in their 60's and 70's.

The results showed a positive effect on the test group who played the game for a month. Results included increased scores on cognitive tests, increases in memory, reasoning and the ability to multi-task. The "working" memory improved.

So now I know what to get my mom for Christmas!

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