Elsevier LogoWhile video games are indicated to increase the risk of BP and obesity, here is an article that highlights the positive side of it. Experts from the Centre for Vision Research at York University in Canada suggest that video gaming young men have a reorganization of the brain’s cortical network which aids in not only playing games very well, but also performing other tasks that require visuomotor skills. The findings seem to provide hope for future investigations into the problems experienced by Alzheimer’s patients, who struggle to complete the simplest visuomotor tasks.

During the study, investigators compared 13 men within the age group of 20 years in a group of 13 young men. While the first group played video games at least four hours a week for the previous three years, the other group did not play at all. These volunteers were then subjected to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and made to complete a series of increasingly difficult visuomotor tasks like using a joystick or looking one way while reaching another way.

Lauren Sergio, associate professor in the Faculty of Health at York University, commented, “By using high resolution brain imaging (fMRI), we were able to actually measure which brain areas were activated at a given time during the experiment. We tested how the skills learned from video game experience can transfer over to new tasks, rather than just looking at brain activity while the subject plays a video game.”

The less experienced gamers appeared to depend upon parietal cortex for performing the tasks. It was mentioned that parietal cortex is the brain area which is known to be involved in hand-eye coordination. On the other hand, experienced gamers displayed heightened activity in prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain. Further investigations can also be carried out to determine whether type of video games alters a particular brain pattern of the players. Studies can even be initiated on female video gamers whose brain patterns are apparently different to those of males.

The study will be published in the October 2010 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex.