Gaming For 30 Minutes Helps Curb Dementia In Older Adults, Says Research

3D video games appear to be more effective than the 2D counterparts.

Story Highlights

  • Playing video games for 30 minutes per day for four weeks helps dampen the effects of dementia in older adults, as per research.
  • The study notes that it improves age-related decline because of the disorder and increases cognitive and memory skills, lasting for four weeks.
  • In another study, the group playing Super Mario 3D World saw more improvements in curbing the effects of dementia compared to the group that played a 2D game.
  • Better visuals and the 3D environment of Super Mario 3D World helped in substituting as a more effective change in the environment compared to 2D titles.

A study published in the Behavioural Brain Research journal has disclosed a new solution against dementia, one that is seemingly not tough to execute or a popular pseudoscience. According to the research, playing video games effectively helps curb the disorder in older adults.

The research dubbed “Enriching hippocampal memory function in older adults through video games” discusses how playing video games for 30 minutes is a practical solution against dementia-struck old individuals. It reportedly improves the memory of those inflicted by an age-related decline due to the disorder.

Playing video games for four weeks can improve hippocampal-based memory in a population that is already experiencing age-related decline in memory,” noted the research.

Healthy older adults between 60 to 80 years were chosen for the study to play 3D games, unveiling that playing games for up to four weeks enhance the memory of those with dementia. Moreover, the research also found that the improvements brought by gaming could last up to four weeks without needing to play again.

As per the study, the virtual worlds likely serve as a proxy that helps stimulate memory due to a change in environment, providing mental nourishment in older adults. Titles featuring more realistic graphics are able to reduce the effects of Dementia from deepening in older adults with the disorder.

Another research conducted by PLOS ONE dubbed “Playing Super Mario 64 increases hippocampal grey matter in older adults,” had the participants divided into two groups, one playing a 2D game and the other Super Mario 3D World for 30 to 45 minutes per day for four weeks.

Playing the selected games for two weeks had already started showing positive results in the participants. However, the subjects who played Super Mario 3D World seemed to exhibit better results than those who played the 2D-based entry. 

The reason was the 3D environment of Super Mario 3D World, which delivered an enhanced visual experience. A title like Flappy Bird is a 2-dimensional experience, which was not enough visual input to the participants. Thus, the group that played Super Mario 3D World had more improvements in cognitive and memory skills. 

Exploring the vast, beautiful worlds in games for 30 minutes per day helps to fight the effects of Dementia slowly and could highly decrease its impending risks. Since visuals in video games have advanced nearly to the level of real life, exploring different virtual landscapes could prove to be an effective solution against the disorder.

Dementia is one of the most haunting neurocognitive disorders, mainly affecting older adults with the increase in age. It is among the afflictions that deeply hamper the life of the affected and the beloved ones around them. The major neurocognitive disorder is yet to be conquered, but we may be one step closer thanks to gaming.

What are your thoughts regarding video games playing a significant role in improving the dementia-struck memory of older adults? Do let us know your opinions in the comments below.

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Behavioural Brain ResearchPLOS ONE

Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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