AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Playing Action Video Games Can Actually Harm Your Brain

Neuroscientists should think twice before getting patients to play video games as a way to boost their brain power, a new study conducted at Université de Montréal suggests. Why? Because in many cases, gaming can do more harm than good.

In the study, lead author Greg West, an associate professor of psychology at UdeM, reveals that habitual players of action games have less grey matter in their hippocampus, a major part of the brain.

And the more depleted the hippocampus becomes, the more a person is at risk of developing brain illnesses and diseases ranging from depression to schizophrenia, PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Video games have been shown to benefit certain cognitive systems in the brain, mainly related to visual attention and short-term memory,” said West, who did the study in collaboration with McGill University associate professor of psychiatry Véronique Bohbot. “But there is also behavioral evidence that there might be a cost to that, in terms of the impact on the hippocampus.”

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