Frequent gaming may enlarge brain`s pleasure centre
Melbourne: A new study has found that teenagers, who play video games frequently, have brains with larger pleasure centres.
Dr Simone Kuhn of Charite University Medicine in Berlin and a large team of European collaborators, looked at 154 Berlin school children who were all aged 14 and also played video games.
The children were split into two groups: infrequent video gamers, who played on average about 4 hours per week, and frequent gamers, who played about 21 hours a week on average.
“An important feature of our study is that none of the children were addicted to video games,” ABC science quoted Kuhn as saying.
When the children underwent an MRI scan, the researchers found that a region of the brain called the ‘ventral striatum’ had more grey matter in the frequent video gamers.
“The ventral striatum is usually associated with everything that brings pleasure”, said Kuhn.
For instance food and monetary reward. It’s also been associated with some addictions. If you show a smoker a cigarette for example, the ventral striatum is activated,” he stated.
Kuhn think that playing the video games makes the pleasure centre grow bigger.
“We are doing another study now to look at that. We are training adults who have never used video games to use them for two months, and then looking to see whether that brain area gets larger,” she explained.
The findings were reported in the journal Translational Psychiatry this week.
First Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 18:48
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