×
E-PAPER ▾

E-paper

HEALTH & FITNESS

Action video games may affect memory, up Alzheimer's risk

| | Toronto
Action video games may affect memory, up Alzheimer's risk
Is your teenaged son addicted to playing action video games? Beware, it can reduce episodic memory and spatial navigation, and increase the risk of developing brain disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, researchers have warned.
 
The findings showed that habitual players of action video games had reduction in grey matter in the hippocampus -- a key brain area for memory.
 
This challenged the previously held notion that it may boost brain power, reduce stress and aid in improving symptoms of depression, the researchers said.
 
"Video games have been shown to benefit certain cognitive systems in the brain, mainly related to visual attention and short-term memory," said lead author Greg West, associate professor at Universite de Montreal (UdeM) in Canada.
 
Further, the study showed that instead of the hippocampus, 85 per cent of players tend to increasingly make use of another part of the brain called the striatum to navigate their way through a game.
 
Striatum has an area known as the caudate nucleus that acts as a kind of "autopilot" and "reward system" and also helps us form habits and remember how to do things like ride a bicycle.
 
However, the more the players use the caudate nucleus, the less they use the hippocampus, and as a result the hippocampus loses cells and atrophies, the researchers rued, in the paper detailed in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
 
"If action video games lead to decreases in grey matter in the hippocampus (of young adults), caution should be exerted when encouraging their use... (by) children, young adults and older adults to promote cognitive skills such as visual short-term memory and visual attention," West suggested. 
 
According to the study, patients with Parkinson's disease combined with dementia, as well as those with Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression or PTSD -- all of whom have less grey matter in their hippocampus -- should "not be advised to (follow) action video game treatments." 
 
 
 
 
 

TOP STORIES

Sunday Edition

View All

Uniquely Christmas

17 Dec 2017 | SUNDAY PIONEER

Traditional Christmas is best ushered under the snow with families snuggling up on the dinner table. But there are some different mores across the world too...

Read More

STATE EDITIONS

View All

Delay in justice is injustice: Prez

17 Dec 2017 | PNS | Allahabad

Terming delay in justice as injustice, President of India Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said that adjournment of cases should be avoided and it should be given only when no alternative was available. While emphasising the need for easy and cheap justice, the President said that justice, as far as possible, should be given in the local language so that the litigant could understand it easily and in a much better...

Read More

Page generated in 0.483 seconds.