Researchers in Berlin report that regularly playing video games can increase the power of certain sections of the brain, and may be able to help counteract mental diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
As reported in Molecular Psychiatry and Max Planck Society, researchers used MRI scans to determine the difference between a group who played Super Mario 64, for 30 minutes a day over two months, and a control group who played no video games during that period.
The study found that participants who had played the game exhibited “significant gray matter increase in right hippocampal formation, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the bilateral cerebellum”. These areas of the brain are associated with skills in “spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills of the hands.”
Even more interesting is that participants who expressed a strong desire to continue playing the game showed the most pronounced changes.