Today in Research: Video Games Affect Brain Matter; Living Longer

Discovered: lots of hearing loss, the deep-voice appeal, gamers grey matter, the youthful brains of the long-living elderly, and very stressed surgeonfish.

  • Frequent video gamers have different brain structures, more grey matter. What this means, according to Reuters report on a new brain-scanning study tracking the habits of 14-year-old gamers, is that, "they get more out of gaming than people who tend to play less." Or, as The Los Angeles Times wrote, it suggests that "gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain much as addictions are," since the changes in the brain had occurred in the "rewards center." As far as the researchers involved, Reuters noted that they weren't sure whether "the structural difference is a change caused by the frequent game play, or whether individual differences in this system naturally dispose some people to more excessive play." [Reuters, The Los Angeles Times]
  • So, what do all those elderly folks who living longer have in common? There's a few different studies going on recently that aim to figure out why certain 80- or 100-year-olds live longer. One of these studies, Northwestern University's Super Aging Project, is underway, and early results appear to suggest these elderly people have "unusually youthful brain regions." According to a post on neuroscience forum, Action Potential, relaying the findings: "Magnetic resonance imaging scans of their brains corroborate their superior abilities: not only do super agers act the same as their younger counterparts, their brains look the same."' [Action Potential via Nature News]

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