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Can video games improve memory, boost brain power?

brain age.jpg

A recent entry on KQED-FM's QUEST blog focused on video games designed to improve people's concentration or short-term memory. Asked whether these products really work, most of the aging/memory researchers interviewed for the piece - like Laura Carstensen, PhD, director of the Stanford Center for Longevity - struck a skeptical tone:

Can you improve your brain so that it's faster, more adept, more vital? That's what the claims are, and I don’t think there’s really any evidence for that.

It certainly can't hurt to keep the mind engaged - Carstensen said she advises people who worry about becoming forgetful as they age to do community work - but researchers pointed out there is stronger evidence linking physical activity with a boost in brain power. One UCSF expert's advice was to: "Head to the gym and start getting some aerobic exercise.”

For more on aging issues, Carstensen is now hosting an interactive, public discussion on Facebook, as part of Stanford Open Office Hours.

Previously: Does the brain retire at retirement?, Exercise may lower women's risk of dementia later in life and Power walking plus "Plants vs. Zombies" may help protect against memory loss
Photo by robertnelson

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