Active video gaming is good for brain health and memory, finds study

May 3, 2017
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Video games which involve physical activity significantly boost our brain health as we get older, according to new research led by University of Manchester experts.

Study authors Dr Emma Stanmore and Joseph Firth say systems that use for gaming such as Wii and Xbox Kinect can boost brain functioning in people with neurological impairment, as well as keeping our minds healthy and active as we age.

In the first ever analysis of all published evidence, the researchers aggregated data from 17 clinical trials examining the effects of active gaming on across 926 people.

It is published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, and 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, , 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 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."

Dr Stanmore has just completed a in 18 sites in Manchester and Glasgow.

The trial showed that MIRA games improved balance, pain and fear of falling after 12 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."

Explore further: Exercise can tackle symptoms of schizophrenia

More information: Emma Stanmore et al. The effect of active video games on cognitive functioning in clinical and non-clinical populations: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.04.011

Related Stories

Exercise can tackle symptoms of schizophrenia

August 12, 2016
Aerobic exercise can significantly help people coping with the long-term mental health condition schizophrenia, according to a new study from University of Manchester researchers.

Brain training can help in fight against dementia: Meta-analysis

November 14, 2016
Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that engaging in computer-based brain training can improve memory and mood in older adults with mild cognitive impairment - but training is no longer effective once a dementia ...

What types of video games improve brain function?

October 1, 2015
From "brain games" designed to enhance mental fitness, to games used to improve real-world problems, to games created purely to entertain, today's video games can have a variety of potential impacts on the brain. A new article ...

Study compares active video gaming to unstructured outdoor play

June 11, 2015
The increasing use of video games is often blamed for children's lack of interest in physical activity, but a UT study recently published in the Games for Health Journal suggests that active video games may actually be a ...

Healthy living linked to higher brain function, delay of dementia

November 1, 2016
It's tempting to dip into the leftover Halloween treats, but new research out of York University has found eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, combined with regular exercise, leads to better cognitive functioning for ...

Video games improve brain connections in multiple sclerosis patients

March 8, 2016
Playing "brain-training" video games may help improve some cognitive abilities of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) by strengthening neural connections in an important part of their brains, according to a new study published ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find monkey brain structure that decides if viewed objects are new or unidentified

August 18, 2017
A team of researchers working at the University of Tokyo School of Medicine has found what they believe is the part of the monkey brain that decides if something that is being viewed is recognizable. In their paper published ...

Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during performed and imagined movements

August 18, 2017
Artificial intelligence has far outpaced human intelligence in certain tasks. Several groups from the Freiburg excellence cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools led by neuroscientist private lecturer Dr. Tonio Ball are showing how ...

Study of nervous system cells can help to understand degenerative diseases

August 18, 2017
The results of a new study show that many of the genes expressed by microglia differ between humans and mice, which are frequently used as animal models in research on Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

How whip-like cell appendages promote bodily fluid flow

August 18, 2017
Researchers at Nagoya University have identified a molecule that enables cell appendages called cilia to beat in a coordinated way to drive the flow of fluid around the brain; this prevents the accumulation of this fluid, ...

Researchers make surprising discovery about how neurons talk to each other

August 17, 2017
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have uncovered the mechanism by which neurons keep up with the demands of repeatedly sending signals to other neurons. The new findings, made in fruit flies and mice, challenge ...

Neurons involved in learning, memory preservation less stable, more flexible than once thought

August 17, 2017
The human brain has a region of cells responsible for linking sensory cues to actions and behaviors and cataloging the link as a memory. Cells that form these links have been deemed highly stable and fixed.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.