Video games that use a 3D platforms can help prevent mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease among older adults, according to research published Wednesday.
The new study by the Université de Montréal constructed off of a previous study that revealed younger adults recognized an increase in grey matter in their own hippocampus after playing 3D logic and puzzle games.
The study was tried again with adults ages 55 to 75, who were assigned to play Super Mario 64 for a half hour every day, five days a week; take piano classes for the same length of time; or not participate in any additional activities.
Following six months researchers found only that the 3D game group had gray matter increases in both their hippocampus and their cerebellum, which plays a role in motor control and balance. Short-term memory also enhanced for those in the video game category.
Gray matter generally decreases as people age, but games on a 3D platform might help slow that down, researchers stated.
“The good news is that we can reverse those effects and increase quantity by learning something new, and games like Super Mario 64, that trigger the hippocampus, appear to hold some possible in that regard,” explained lead researcher Gregory West, an associate professor at the Department of Psychology.
The researchers said their findings may be used to contribute to future Alzheimer’s study.