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Computer games are increasingly being seen as a way for older people to keep mentally active, as Bryony Mackenzie reports.
Watch as Hilda plays and talks about how 40 years of playing video games (and playing with her 94-year-old aunt) have helped keep her mentally active.
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Me too, at 50 most of my young patients are shocked to hear I can beat them at HALO, Master Chief. I call it research. Like my social media interest.
A Stanford professor, Joshua Landy, has some new research that calls into question the common assumption that reading fiction does something to strengthen our emotional, moral or empathic muscles, but argues that instead reading fiction is great exercise for our mental skills. And not just in the sense that reading teaches us new words and what characters who live in faraway parts of the world eat for breakfast, but actually stretching our brain cells to be better at things like logic, reaching better understanding through metaphor and comparison, and even "achieving peace of mind," according to Landy.
The Department of Defense recently announced the release of a mobile application that helps service members reacclimate to life at home after returning from combat deployments.
Positive Activity Jackpot, developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, uses augmented reality with a smart phone’s GPS to help find nearby activities and diversions for someone accustomed to the high tempo of combat life.
T2 seeks to identify, treat, and minimize or eliminate the short and long-term adverse effects of TBI and other mental health conditions associated with military service. T2 partners with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other organizations throughout the world. Working together, our teams of psychologists and technology developers promote resilience, recovery and reintegration so that Service members and their families can thrive in their community of choice.
San Francisco-based startup SuperBetter Labs is shifting the focus of its namesake social game to focus on strengthening mental resiliency, a decision that coincides with the release of its iPhone app and launch of clinical trials.
In its work to utilize “the science of personal and social well-being,” SuperBetter is hoping to partner with large hospital groups and health organizations for distribution and potentially employee care. On the consumer side, it says an Android app is in demand and under consideration for the future.
Researchers at the University of California and a Pasadena counseling center for first-responders have hit upon the idea of using virtual reality -- computer simulations -- not only to treat the emotional ravages of war and catastrophe, but also to try to prevent them. As post-traumatic stress disorder -- the scourge of battle-weary warriors -- reaches epidemic proportions, the nation's fascination with video games is about to propel PTSD therapy into an entirely new dimension.
Headington's research has focused, in part, on dissecting the physiological causes and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, using sophisticated monitoring devices to track changes in body chemistry and the effectiveness of coping strategies.
Part of the program is a repair effort, to help victims of PTSD get over it by putting them back into terrifying situations -- only this time in a safe "virtual" environment where they can learn to rein in their emotions without the crushing pressure of actual threat.
"People who played ‘World of Warcraft' versus those who did not play experienced an increase in cognitive ability, particularly older adults who performed very poorly in our first testing session," the study's co-author, Dr. Jason Allaire, said in a telephone interview.
In the study, Allaire and his co-authors, Dr. Anne McLaughlin and PhD student Laura Whitlock, first tested the cognitive abilities of adults aged 60 to 77 to set a baseline. The experimental group played "WoW" for about 14 hours on their home computers, while the control group didn't play at all.
Allaire said the group that played the game showed "statistically significant" improvement in their cognitive abilities.