Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Active gaming benefits brain health #exergaming

There have been some mixed results about the effectiveness of basic brain training games and their impact on cognitive function. In general, we tend to see some low to moderate gains in certain brain processes, but they tend to be short lived and typically specific to the type of testing or assessment used.

In this meta-analysis of RCT, the authors found that across the 17 included studies, exergames were found to improve executive function, attentional processing and visuospatial skills in older people and people with neurocognitive deficits.

Let's get playing!

Physically-active video games (‘exergames’) have recently gained popularity for leisure and entertainment purposes. Using exergames to combine physical activity and cognitively-demanding tasks may offer a novel strategy to improve cognitive functioning. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to establish effects of exergames on overall cognition and specific cognitive domains in clinical and non-clinical populations. We identified 17 eligible RCTs with cognitive outcome data for 926 participants. Random-effects meta-analyses found exergames significantly improved global cognition (g = 0.436, 95% CI = 0.18–0.69, p = 0.001). Significant effects still existed when excluding waitlist-only controlled studies, and when comparing to physical activity interventions. Furthermore, benefits of exergames where observed for both healthy older adults and clinical populations with conditions associated with neurocognitive impairments (all p < 0.05). Domain-specific analyses found exergames improved executive functions, attentional processing and visuospatial skills. The findings present the first meta-analytic evidence for effects of exergames on cognition. Future research must establish which patient/treatment factors influence efficacy of exergames, and explore neurobiological mechanisms of action.
Link:  Study suggests active gaming benefits brain health | Alzheimer's Research UK:

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