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Video game improves cognitive function in healthy older adults

Narrator:       This is Science Today. It's never too late to train the older brain. In fact, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have specifically designed a 3-D video game that can improve cognitive performance in healthy older adults. Dr. Adam Gazzaley, director of the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center, says their game, called NeuroRacer, involves racing a car around a winding track while a variety of road signs pop up, which players are instructed to either pay attention to or to ignore.

Gazzaley:      What we found was that a group of older adults who played a video game that we custom designed to train a deficit that we know that population has in their ability to deal with interfence, which is distraction and multitasking and, in general, cognitive controllabilities, we found that by playing the game repetitively over a period of time, that we were able to improve how they played the game, in terms of multitasking on the game, but also other abilities that we didn't train directly like their sustained attention and their working memory.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.