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Can video games promote healthier aging?

Germany,Health/Medicine, Tue, 24 Apr 2012 IANS

Berlin, April 24 (IANS) Videogame technology has significant benefits for older adults by providing cognitive stimulation and being a source of social interaction, exercise, and fun, say two new studies.


The first of the studies was co-authored by Hannah Marston of German Sport University Cologne, Germany, and Stuart Smith of Neuroscience Research, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia, the journal Games for Health Journal reports.


"The elderly often forsake their lifelong activities in exchange for the safety, security, and care of institutional living," says the journal's editor-in-chief Bill Ferguson.


"This trade-off need not require the sacrifice of physical activity and fitness. Furthermore, videogames offer an escape from routine. All of these benefits can improve the well-being of elderly adults," adds Ferguson.


Digital games offer a home-based method to support behaviour modification, motivating patients to take better care of themselves and to self-mange chronic conditions, according to a German Sport statement.


The second study was conducted in three European countries that defined and compared the specific features of videogames that would most interest older adults, the journal Games for Health Journal reports.


Unai Diaz-Orueta, Matia Gerontological Institute Foundation-INGEMA (Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain), and colleagues from Spain, the Netherlands, and Greece identified several main factors that motivate interest in gaming: the social aspect of the experience; the challenge it presents etc.


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