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Gaming for MS :: Video Game Revs up Brain Power

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Video Game Revs up Brain Power
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

A video game designed to challenge specific cognitive deficits appears not only to improve concentration but also shows mental benefits beyond the targeted training, reports a study published September 5 in the journal Nature.

The study adds more evidence that challenging the brain can drive plasticity and improve function and may have implications for improving cognitive declines associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the authors and others contacted by MSDF.

In the most compelling finding, the brains of older adults (ages 60 to 85) performed as efficiently at the "NeuroRacer" video game after a month of practice as those of untrained 20-year-olds. The specific multitasking improvements lasted 6 months without additional practice. More interesting, researchers found broader effects. The game players showed enhanced sustained attention and working memory. The results were supported by a neural marker of cognitive processing as measured with electroencephalography (EEG), which correlated with the improvements.

In MS, the cognitive deficits vary widely among individuals but tend to be primarily deficits in memory and processing speed, which interfere with multitasking abilities, said Victoria Leavitt, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey, in an interview with MDSF.

Read the full article for more information.
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