Want to become smarter as you age?

Want to be smarter when you grow old?
If you want to slow, or even reverse, cognitive decline and dementia, play games on your smart phone.

Seriously.  A new study of elderly individuals shows that “goal-directed hand movements on a computer tablet for 30 minutes” for 16 weeks improved cognitive abilities for a test group. Casper de Boer, a researcher in Amsterdam, directed participants to play a game on tablets (so maybe your phone won’t work . . . )  If you have been looking for an excuse to buy an iPad, this study might help build your case.

The results?  “significant group effects on raw DRS score (F(3, 33) = 65.361, p < 0.001), MoCA score (F(3, 33) = 33.543, p < 0.001), and DAD score (F(3, 18) = 60.118, p < 0.001) were found.”  If you don’t know what that means, then cognitive decline has already started.  JUST JOKING!  The p score is apparently valid enough.

agingOf course, the results apply to brain-building games, not necessarily to Minecraft.  Anyway, go ahead and play a game and don’t feel guilty about it.

The part of the study I find most interesting is attrition, or the dropout rate.  Of the 54 people in the care center who started the study, 12 failed to complete it.  Again, the study involves people (who have a lot of free time) playing games on a free tablet for 30 minutes, with the hope it will make them smarter.  But a lot of people quit.  Perhaps motivation also plays a role in cognitive repair.

If you are interested, the article reference is doi: 10.1159/000490173, but you can see the whole article at: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/490173

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