Gamers more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s

Gamers store in Akihabara district, TokyoA study published by the Douglas Mental Health University Institute believes that adults who play video games could be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.

Author Dr Gregory West said that people playing action videos have been showed to display more efficient visual attention abilities than those who don’t.

But, said West: “We found that gamers rely on the caudate nucleus [part of the brain] to a greater degree than non-gamers. Past research has shown that people who rely on caudate nucleus dependent strategies have lower grey matter and functional brain activity in the hippocampus.”

Gamers are “much more likely” to use strategies that use the brain’s reward system and don’t use the brain’s spatial memory system – the hippocampus.

The researchers think the average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the time they are 21.

“The effects of intense video gaming on the brain are only beginning to be understood,” the researchers said.

“People who spend a lot of time playing video games may have reduced hippocampal integrity, which is associated with an increased risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” said West.

But the researchers said that future research is necessary and by the use of neuroimaging will look at the direct effects of specific video games on the brain.