New study by Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus shows that playing video games can increase brain volume in brain regions responsible for strategic planning, spatial navigation, memory formation, and motor skills.
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According to scientists video gaming and its positive effects could provide therapeutic interventions with patients with mental disorders in which brain regions are altered or reduced in size, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, or neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s. As psychiatrist Jürgen Gallinat, co-author of the study at Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus, said in a statement: “Many patients will accept video games more readily than other medical interventions”.
The study was concluded on a group of 23 adults, with an average age of 24, who have been asked to play Super Mario 64 video game, for at least 30 minutes a day for two months. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used, during this time, to quantify brain volume of participants. It was found that grey matter of participants has increased, in which the cell bodies of the nerve cells of the brain are situated. These positive effects were observed in three regions of a brain: the right prefrontal cortex, right hippocampus, and the cerebellum – regions involved in functions such as memory formation and motor skills of the hands. The results also showed that the changes were more pronounced in those participants who expressed a strong desire to play the video game.
Researchers are currently studying the effects of video gaming in people who suffer from PTSD.
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