Video games good for the brain seniors

News 11 December, 2017
  • Dominique Scali

    Monday, December 11, 2017 01:00

    Monday, December 11, 2017 01:00

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    Playing video games can help older people preserve their brainpower and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, shows a recent research so that we find more and more of the Wii consoles and the Xbox in retirement homes.

    “With age, it is less often the contents of us. We see just our wrinkles and our pets. So when I win, it brings me a personal satisfaction, ” said Carmen Fortin, 88 years of age.

    It is one of the regulars at the bowling game virtual on Xbox of the residence Le22, Saint-Léonard.

    Super Mario

    A study from the University of Montreal published Wednesday in the scientific journal Plos one shows that seniors can improve their cognitive functions and prevent Alzheimer’s disease by playing a video game 3D.

    For six months, people aged 55 to 75 years have played games like Super Mario 64 on a Wii console at a rate of 30 minutes per day in the comfort of their homes.

    At the end of the experiment, the grey matter of their brain had gained in volume, particularly in the hippocampus.

    Photo courtesy

    Gregory West, Researcher


    This part of the brain is the seat of spatial memory and episodic, which is used to find his car in a parking lot and to remember his 10th birthday, shows Gregory West, principal author. Another group had to follow a course virtual piano on an electronic keyboard. These participants saw their gray matter to win in volume, but in the area responsible for the planning and decision-making.


    The third group of participants had no task to do. At the end of six months, they had lost gray matter.

    However, it is in the first group there were more withdrawals in the course of the research. Some have dropped out because the arthritis made it impossible for them to use the controller. Other because the game was too complex.

    It would be important to begin to develop video games that are aimed specifically at older persons so that they can help stimulate their cognitive functions, ” said Mr. West.

    Moreover, in the five houses contacted by The Newspaper, the residents do not use their console to play bowling or dance.

    In short, games that make them move, but do not stimulate the brain areas covered by the research of Mr. West. “We have a comrade for whom [the bowling] was a revelation, because it can make a good score. She told us once : that is all I have left, ” says Carmen Fortin.