(HealthDay News) – Older adults who play a video game to improve their visual speed of processing have stable or improved cognitive function, according to a study published online May 1 in PLOS ONE.

Fredric D. Wolinsky, PhD, from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues randomly assigned 681 healthy individuals (≥50 years) to play computerized crossword puzzles for 10 hours (attention control group), or to play a video game for visual speed of processing training for 10 hours on-site, 14 hours on-site, or 10 hours at-home.

The researchers found that all three visual speed of processing training groups had significant, small-to-medium standardized effect size improvements on several tests of cognitive function. In terms of years of protection against age-related cognitive declines, this translated to 3–4.1 years by the Useful Field of View test; 2.2–3.5 years by the Trail Making A test; 1.5–2 years by the Trail Making B test; 5.4–6.6 years by the Symbol Digit Modalities test; and 2.3 to 2.7 years by the Stroop Color and Word tests.

“Visual speed of processing training delivered on-site or at-home to middle-aged or older adults using standard home computers resulted in stabilization or improvement in several cognitive function tests,” Wolinsky and colleagues conclude.

Full Text