Video games friends of the elderly
They reduce depression and improve cognitive performance
Playing video games could help the elderly to reduce symptoms of depression. This was stated by a research by Weill Cornell Medical College in New York published in Nature Communications which tested the effectiveness of “mind games” on a population made up of elderly people between 60 and 86 years.
Researchers tested the effectiveness of video games for the mind on key functions such as memory, attention span and accuracy of movements. Participants had no benefit from drug therapies and played around 30 hours within a month.
The authors explain: “in all subjects the symptoms significantly reduced in just four weeks, a result comparable to that obtained with the latest generation of antidepressants in three months”.
Another research conducted by the University of Illinois reaches the same conclusion and published in Journals of Gerontology: Series B, according to which electronic games would help older people to walk better and avoid falls, thus eliminating one of the triggers of depression, physical inactivity.
The American researchers recruited 51 elderly males and 70 females over the age of 85 and divided them into two groups. The first was asked to play three different video games three times a week, while the others practiced other activities.
At the end of the trial, the seniors who had played showed faster walking speed and greater balance.
Interactive video games in which physical activity is combined with playful activity also offer the possibility for elderly populations to derive a dual benefit, cognitive and physical. In another study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the scholars state: “We found that for the elderly virtual reality and enhanced interactive exercise, such as the proposed ‘cyber cycling’ two or three times a week for 3 months, have given greater cognitive benefits and greater protection against mild cognitive impairment (MCI), compared to similar traditional exercise programs. ”
The research, promoted by Cay Anderson-Hanley of the Psychology department of Union College in Schenectady, in the United States recruited 101 volunteers between the ages of 58 and 99. A group of 78 subjects was enrolled in exercise with a traditional exercise bike, another of 63 with a cyber bike.
A video game was used in which there was a cyber bike that had to go on a three-dimensional tour in which battles were carried out against a “Ghost Rider”.
Those who completed the study with video games, about 63 adults, reported an improvement in higher cognitive functions, such as attention, memory, planning and problem solving skills, greater than the group that had exercised in the traditional way. In addition, some of the cyber cyclists showed a 23% reduction in the progression of senile dementia from which they suffered in mild form.