As we grow older, our mental abilities can be affected and slow down. Studies have shown that critical mental activities, such as memory, attention, perception, and problem solving can be lost as a person ages. Researchers at the University of Iowa studied whether stimulating the brain of older people using a simple video game had any effect on cognitive ability.
The researchers used a video game that required players to quickly identify a type of vehicle and match it to a road sign on the screen. A player had to be successful at most attempts to be able to move up a level. With each successive level, there was greater mental speed and agility required from the player. Research subjects who played the game at least ten hours gained around three years of cognitive improvement when tested after one year. In fact, the more people played the game, the better their results were.
These results were compared to subjects who just did crossword puzzles. Even though there were some improvements in cognitive ability from doing the crossword puzzles, playing the vehicle road game had much better results. Researchers believe this is a result of needing to be nimble and able to process information quickly with the vehicle video game.
Research has proven that age-related cognitive decline is a serious and real concern. But the good news is that there are things you can do to help slow, stop, or even reverse this mental diminishment.
Exposing yourself to new experiences, doing activities that require mental agility, and keeping active and engaged with those around you are key to keeping your brain as young as possible.
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