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Seems like playing video games might be an activity that not only children should be enjoying. While it brings a lot of fun with low physical effort, researchers recently state that 3-D platform games can also improve cognitive performance, memory abilities and promote the growth of gray matter in the hippocampus for both, young and old adults.

This is based on a recent study done over 6 months on three groups of people between the age of 55 and 75. In which a control group was asked to do nothing, another was told to learn to play the piano with the help of software and the third group was told to play Super Mario 64, a 3-D video game. After this period of time, it was found that the video game-playing group registered a higher increase in grey-matter compared to the music group and the control group which presented a diminished in both cognitive performance and gray-matter.

Researchers admit that the idea of video games as cognitive training requires more research and address the limits of their study. But they seem fairly optimistic regarding the potential for video games to be integrated as part of a cognitive-decline prevention regime.

It could be incorporated as a new family activity, not only to have a good time together but also, to improve the overall cognitive performance of the brain.

Source: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187779#sec013