Active gaming is good for brain health and memory

Video games which involve physical activity significantly boost people’s brain health as they get older, according to new research led by University of Manchester experts (University of Manchester, 2017).

Study authors Dr Emma Stanmore and Joseph Firth said systems that use physical activity for gaming, such as Wii and Xbox Kinect, can boost brain functioning in people with neurological impairment, as well as keeping people’s minds healthy and active as they age.

In the first ever analysis of all published evidence, the researchers aggregated data from seventeen clinical trials examining the effects of active gaming on cognitive functioning of nine hundred and twenty six people. The study, published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, was a collaboration between the University of Manchester, King’s College London, KU Leuven and ETH Zurich.

Joseph Firth said “As people age, their brain functioning, such as memory, concentration and spatial awareness naturally decline. Various neurological conditions such Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia can also impede people’s cognitive functioning and reduce their ability to function day to day.

“Recently, there has been much interest in using active video games in the rehabilitation of these conditions, and to promote healthy aging. So we were fascinated to learn that the available evidence shows how these sort of games can significantly improve overall cognitive functioning, and is particularly beneficial for attention, executive functioning and visuospatial abilities. Physically-active video games have, according to our research, greater impact on brain functioning than regular physical activity alone – suggesting that their benefits are more than just moving around.”

Emma Stanmore has just completed a randomised controlled trial in eighteen sites in Manchester and Glasgow. The trial showed that MIRA games improved balance, pain and fear of falling after twelve weeks use.

She said “Our research shows the potential of active video games that can be used independently at home and remotely supervised by therapists. The brain benefits may be because these activities are physically demanding, while also requiring concentration and cognitive effort, resulting in positive effects for body and brain. We hope this research will encourage the NHS and social services to take up active gaming as part of their support packages – as some are already starting to do.”

Free WordPress Themes, Free Android Games