Maybe mom was wrong: Those video games might not rot your brain afterall. In fact, they could actually make our brains act younger. The New York Times recently ran a feature story highlighting research from brain scientists that suggests that certain video games can boost the power of our brains.
According to the study, older adults that played a simple video game in which they had to drive a car past other vehicles while identifying key road signs displayed the neurological patterns of much younger adults. Just how much younger? The study discovered that some 80-year-olds had patterns more common in the brains of 20-year-olds.
And the best news? This benefit didn’t end when the video game shut down. Researchers told the Times that participants benefitted from the younger-brain attributes when executing normal day-to-day activities.
Space Invaders for life?
The study, then, is as good an excuse as any to pull the old Atari out of the basement. Stick in your Space Invaders or Pac-Man cartridge and get to work: It’s time to dip your brain in the elixir of youth that is retro video games. If you don't happen to have a gaming system handy, there's always the perfectly reproduced-in-HTML5 remake of Super Mario Bros at http://www.fullscreenmario.com/ . Smash goombahs, bonk blocks, even create your own level with a level editor - all open source and free. Happy brain-building!