How Super Mario can Curb Dementia

How Super Mario can Curb Dementia

Super Mario isn’t only well-equipped to rescue perpetual damsel-in-distress Peach, but your brain health, too.

Video games similar to the popular plumber man has been linked to improved brain capacity, even forestalling dementia, say scientists. They discovered that playing three-dimensional (3D) platform video games and puzzle or logic games for at least two months led to more grey matter in the navigation area of the brain.

3D platforming games like Super Mario increasing grey matter in the hippocampus area of the brain refines the development of learning new skills. These games make our spatial memory processes build cognitive maps of the in-game environments, encouraging more grey matter in these key areas of the brain.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, also hints at brain growth in younger adults that play these types of video games.

Conducted at the University of Montreal, the study revealed young people playing the 1996 classic Super Mario 64 for just two months enjoyed increased spatial and episodic memory, compared to those playing the two-dimensional version of the game.

Greg West, associate professor at the University of Montreal, feels video game training could do more to help prevent the development of degenerative conditions such as dementia.

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“No study to date has shown that video game training can directly increase grey matter in the hippocampus of older adults,” explains West.

“The aim of the present study was therefore to directly test if 3D-platform video game training can increase grey matter in neural structures know to become dysfunctional during ageing.

“Because of this, 3D-platform video game training holds promise to be applied to populations that are at increased risk for developing neurodegenerative disorders associated with decreased hippocampal integrity, such as older adults.”

Photo Credit: ThomasDeco/Shutterstock.com; marysuperstudio/Shutterstock.com; txking/Shutterstock.com

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