Saturday, November 2, 2013

Video games can make your brain BIGGER

Video games can make your brain BIGGER
Video games can make your brain BIGGER: Playing for 30 minutes a day 'boosts memory, ability to plan and dexterity'

While some people might think getting engrossed in a video game is a waste of time, scientists have found they can increase the size of our brains.

German researchers found video gaming causes increases in the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills.

They believe the benefits of video gaming may also prove helpful in therapeutic interventions targeting psychiatric disorders.

In order to examine how video games affect the brain, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus, asked adults to play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day over a period of two months.

A control group did not play the game and the researchers measured brain volume using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

They found that in comparison to the people who did not play video games, the regular gamers showed increases of grey matter, in which the cell bodies of the nerve cells of the brain are situated.

This growth was seen in the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum.

These parts of the brain are involved in functions such as spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills of the hands and the changes were most noticeable in participants who were eager to play the game.

'While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase,' said study leader Simone Kühn, senior scientist at the Centre for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

'This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games,' he added.

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