Medical Moment: How video games are helping kids improve cognitive skills

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 6:04 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WNDU) - Recently, there has been a lot of positive research coming out about video games helping to improve kids’ impulse control and memory.

But when they come head-to-head against a traditional game, do video games come out on top?

Video games have gotten a bad reputation for being linked to obesity and vision problems in youth with excessive use, but there are some positives. When used in medical applications, video games can train people with degenerative diseases to improve their balance and help adolescents with ADHD improve their thinking skills.

But what about when it comes to memory?

“An active mind might be a protected mind,” explained Michelle Humeidan, MD, an anesthesiologist at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “You’re exercising your brain, your neurons, your neuro function.”

A University of Vermont, Burlington study found kids who played video games for three hours a day or more performed better on cognitive skills tests involving working memory compared to kids who never played video games. But for older adults, researchers from Columbia University and Duke found that crossword puzzles actually have an advantage over video games when it comes to memory functioning. They found there was less brain shrinkage, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease for those who worked crossword puzzles compared to those who played video games.

David Albertson believes it. He does crossword puzzles every day.

“I’ve been doing it over 50 years, probably 60 years,” David Albertson said.

Helping to solve the puzzle of memory loss.

The researchers found that crossword puzzles helped people with both early and later cognitive decline.