Excess video gaming could lead to Alzheimer's disease

While you may not want to give up that video game console, a new study has shown that excess playing of video games could lead to neurological problems, like Alzheimer's.

Washington: While you may not want to give up that video game console, a new study has shown that excess playing of video games could lead to neurological problems, like Alzheimer's.

A new study shows that while video game players (VGPs) exhibit more efficient visual attention abilities, they are also much more likely to use navigation strategies that rely on the brain's reward system (the caudate nucleus) and not the brain's spatial memory system (the hippocampus).

It was found that gamers now spend a collective 3 billion hours per week in front of their screens. In fact, it is estimated that the average young person will have spent some 10,000 hours gaming by the time they are 21.

First author Dr. Gregory West, Assistant Professor at the Universite de Montreal, said that their study had confirmed the long believed notion that action video game players display more efficient visual attention abilities. However, we also found that gamers rely on the caudate-nucleus to a greater degree than non-gamers. This meant that 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.

Because past research has shown video games as having positive effects on attention, it is important for future research to confirm that gaming does not have a negative effect on the hippocampus.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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