Wednesday, March 17, 2010

game....good or bad...check it out..

Bye, bye Lawrence Welk; hello, World of Warcraft?
Yes, seniors who want to remember every punch line, birthday, and even the latest March Madness joy might want to duke it out with their closest teenager for extra computer time. The irony is that the very games that parents think are not great for their kids (or spouses) may actually help people of a certain age develop better memories and reasoning skills.
A pilot study in which seniors were taught to play World of Warcraft found that spending at least 14 hours (over 2 weeks) playing the game improved the results of tests that measured thinking speed, memory, executive function (what you use when you plan and organize), and spatial ability. The more they played, the better they got -- both at the game and at these mental skills.
This isn't the first study to find that video games keep minds young (no word, however, on whether the game-playing seniors started calling each other "dude" or ordering out for pizza). The improvements make sense: Keeping your brain mentally stimulated prevents memory loss, especially if you use parts of your brain that you normally don't use.
But video games aren't all you need (that goes for kids, too). Physical activity staves off brain drains like Alzheimer's by boosting cerebral blood flow and stimulating the growth of gray matter. It's never too late to start; even people with mild memory loss saw improvements 6 months after adding just 20 extra minutes of activity to their lives.

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