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Having trouble focusing? UCSF Neurology study shows a surprising source can help

Since the 1980’s parents have been telling their kids to stop playing video games on the threat that it will rot their brains.  New research may prove this premise to be completely false.  While too much gaming can decrease attention spans, a study from the University of San Francisco shows gaming that requires one to focus on doing multiple functions at the same time can significantly increase one’s ability to multi-task as well as other benefits; especially for those 60 and better.

Neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley did a study of 60-85 year old adults to find the effect of the video game Neuro Racer, on their ability to multitask effectively.   The game simulates driving on a windy road while whizzing past street signs, and identifying what is on the green signs.  After 12 hours of game playing over a month period, the subjects increased their ability to multitask by an amazing 50%. This ability was even retained 6 months after the end of the study.  They began to do as well as 20 year olds playing this game for the first time.  Not only did their multitasking ability increase, but also sustained concentration, and memory improved.

The study was done on the game Neuro Racer, but any game that requires completing multiple challenges at once should have a positive effect on brain function and overall memory.  So, have the grandkids over, dust off the old Nintendo and see what playing a little Zelda can do for you.  Maybe the next time you walk into another room for something, you will remember what you went in there for!

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