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50+: Live Better, Longer

Video Game May Help Keep Aging Brains Sharp

Older gamers may gain more mentally than crossword puzzle solvers, study suggests
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Wolinsky noted that many other brain-training games are available commercially, though few have scientific evidence to back up their cognitive improvement claims. Road Tour forces users to widen their field of vision in order to take in all the information required to succeed, he said.

"There's been considerable assumption that the visual field of view, the amount of area we take in, declines with age," he said. "For people to visualize the center and periphery requires them to shift their field of view to capture more information, and the training helps them be more successful at doing that. It's a retrainable skill."

An expert not involved with the new study called it "interesting and exciting."

Dr. James Galvin, director of the Pearl Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said that the study indicates that doctors should look more carefully at such brain-training programs to determine how they can be used clinically.

"It's really interesting to be able to demonstrate that these more challenging kinds of tasks . . . showed a significant benefit compared to crossword puzzles," said Galvin, also a professor of neurology and psychiatry. "The nature of the brain is that even later in life, we can still remodel it. This suggests we have an opportunity to make a real impact on older adults in terms of their mental ability."

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