Virtual Environments

How Playing 3D Video Games Could Help Boost Memory

Author: Honor Whiteman

Published By: Medilexicon International Ltd.

Published On: 12 December 2015

Good news for all of you video game buffs out there; a new study finds playing 3D video games may help boost memory, possibly opening the door to a new way to maintain cognitive functioning as we age.


Video games are not normally viewed in a positive light in terms of health; previous studies have claimed they promote sedentary behavior, while violent video games have been linked to aggressive behavior and reduced self-control.


Increasingly, however, researchers are finding video games may have some benefits. Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on a study that found Tetris could reduce cravings, while other research suggested story-based video games could help people with autism.


Now, researchers from the University of California-Irvine (UCI) suggest the benefits of video games could reach even further, possibly helping people with dementia or other conditions associated with memory loss.


They publish their findings in The Journal of Neuroscience.


3D video games improved memory performance by 12%


Study coauthors Craig Stark and Dane Clemenson, of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory at UCI, asked a number of non-gamer college students to play one of two video games for 30 minutes daily for 2 weeks - either the 2D game "Angry Birds" or the 3D game "Super Mario 3D world."


Students took part in memory tests both before and after the 2-week gaming period, which involved them viewing images of specific everyday objects. They were then shown images of the same objects, new objects and objects that differed slightly from the original images and were asked to categorize each one.


Such tests engage the hippocampus - the brain region associated with memory and learning - according to Stark, and previous studies he conducted showed that the ability to perform well on such tests reduces as we age.


Compared with students who played the 2D game over the 2-week period, those who played the 3D game improved memory performance by around 12%.


To put this in context, the team notes that between the ages of 45-70, memory performance normally reduces by around 12%, suggesting that 3D video games could help maintain cognitive functioning as we age.


But why do 3D video games appear to boost memory while 2D games do not?


3D games may increase neuronal growth, signaling in the hippocampus


Previous studies by Clemenson and colleagues found rodents that explored an environment showed increased neuronal growth and signaling in the hippocampus, and the team notes there are similarities between the environment the rodents explored and the 3D game the students played.


Stark explains that 3D games contain more spatial information than 2D, giving the player more to explore. What is more, 3D games are significantly more complex, meaning the player has more to learn.


Stark adds that video games activate cognitive processes, including visual, spatial, attentional, motivational and emotional processes, as well as critical thinking, problem-solving and working memory.


"It's quite possible that by explicitly avoiding a narrow focus on a single [...] cognitive domain and by more closely paralleling natural experience, immersive video games may be better suited to provide enriching experiences that translate into functional gains," he explains.


Next, the team plans to determine whether 3D video games or other real-world exploration experiences can help reverse cognitive declines in older individuals.


"Can we use this video game approach to help improve hippocampus functioning? It's often suggested that an active, engaged lifestyle can be a real factor in stemming cognitive aging," says Stark. "While we can't all travel the world on vacation, we can do many other things to keep us cognitively engaged and active. Video games may be a nice, viable route."

Category: Future Trends & Possibilies International Perspectives Research Smart AT General Videos Virtual Environments

Added by Lisa Kelly · 7 years ago

Live Forum: Virtual Reality Session with leading developers and Service Providers

Presented by: Norman Wang from Opaque Multimedia, Ben Sheehan from Altish, Stewart Koplick from Endeavour

Recorded On: 12 January 2016

This Live Forum was specifically held and recorded for the Community Care Smart Assistive Technology Collaborative Platform.  

This forum's aim was to provide attendees with the opportunity to hear from leading experts and Service Providers and have the opportunity to engage directly through an interactive online forum.

Introduced by Anne Livingstone, Expert Reference Group Chair, National Chair of Australian Aged Care Industry Technology Council National Home Care Group and Research& Development Lead for Community Resourcing.

This is part of a series of sessions being facilitated by Community Resourcing for the Community Care Smart Assistive Technology Collaborative

Category: Virtual Environments Videos

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Video capture virtual reality as a flexible and effective rehabilitation tool

Authors: Patrice L Weiss, Debbie Rand, Noomi Katz and Rachel Kizony

Published by: Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

Published: 2004

Video capture virtual reality (VR) uses a video camera and software to track movement in a single plane without the need to place markers on specific bodily locations. The user's image is thereby embedded within a simulated environment such that it is possible to interact with animated graphics in a completely natural manner. Although this technology first became available more than 25 years ago, it is only within the past five years that it has been applied in rehabilitation. The objective of this article is to describe the way this technology works, to review its assets relative to other VR platforms, and to provide an overview of some of the major studies that have evaluated the use of video capture technologies for rehabilitation.

Category: Connected Health Future Trends & Possibilies International Perspectives Operational Technology Virtual Environments

Added by Tony Shaw · 8 years ago

Stroke Recovery with Kinect

Author: Eric Change and Miran Lee 

Published By: Microsoft Research

Published: 2016

A Prototype by Microsoft

Stroke Recovery with Kinect is an interactive rehabilitation system prototype that helps stroke patients improve their upper-limb motor functioning in the comfort of their own home. By using Microsoft Kinect technology, this prototype system recognizes and interprets the user’s gestures, assesses their rehabilitation progress, and adjusts the level of difficulty for subsequent therapy sessions.

Category: Future Trends & Possibilies International Perspectives Virtual Environments

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Study protocol of a randomised controlled trial of a web-based multi-modal training program for children and adolescents with an Acquired Brain Injury

Contributors: Roslyn N. Boyd, Emmah Baque, Adina Piovesana, Stephanie Ross, Jenny Ziviani, Leanne Sakzewski, Lee Barber, Owen Lloyd, Lynne McKinlay,Koa Whittingham, Anthony C. Smith, Stephen Rose, Simona Fiori, Ross Cunnington, Robert Ware, Melinda Lewis, Tracy A. Comans and Paul A. Scuffham

Published By: BMC Neurology

Published On: 19 August 2015

Acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to multiple disabilities arising from damage to the brain acquired after birth. Children with an ABI may experience physical, cognitive, social and emotional-behavioural impairments which can impact their ability to participate in activities of daily living (ADL). Recent developments in technology have led to the emergence of internet-delivered therapy programs. “Move it to improve it” (Mitii™) is a web-based multi-modal therapy that comprises upper limb (UL) and cognitive training within the context of meaningful physical activity. The proposed study aims to compare the efficacy of Mitii™ to usual care to improve ADL motor and processing skills, gross motor capacity, UL and executive functioning in a randomised waitlist controlled trial.

Category: Virtual Environments

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Improving Dental Experiences by Using Virtual Reality

Author: Karin Tanja-Dijkstra1, Sabine Pahl , Mathew P. White, Jackie Andrade, Cheng Qian, Malcolm Bruce, Jon May, David R. Moles

Published By: School of Psychology Plymouth University 

Published: 2014

Dental anxiety creates significant problems for both patients and the dental profession. Some distraction interventions are

already used by healthcare professionals to help patients cope with unpleasant procedures. The present study is novel

because it a) builds on evidence that natural scenery is beneficial for patients, and b) uses a Virtual Reality (VR)

representation of nature to distract participants. Extending previous work that has investigated pain and anxiety during

treatment, c) we also consider the longer term effects in terms of more positive memories of the treatment, building on a

cognitive theory of memory (Elaborated Intrusions). Participants (n = 69) took part in a simulated dental experience and

were randomly assigned to one of three VR conditions (active vs. passive vs. control). In addition, participants were

distinguished into high and low dentally anxious according to a median split resulting in a 362 between-subjects design. VR

distraction in a simulated dental context affected memories a week later. The VR distraction had effects not only on

concurrent experiences, such as perceived control, but longitudinally upon the vividness of memories after the dental

experience had ended. Participants with higher dental anxiety (for whom the dental procedures were presumably more

aversive) showed a greater reduction in memory vividness than lower dental-anxiety participants. This study thus suggests

that VR distractions can be considered as a relevant intervention for cycles of care in which people’s previous experiences

affect their behaviour for future events.

Category: Case Studies Research Virtual Environments

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago