Effects of video game training on cognition in the elderly: systematic review
Aims: To perform a systematic review of the literature on the effect of video game training on cognition in the elderly.
Methods: The search was conducted using LILACS, SciELO, PsyINFO and PubMed databases in both English and Portuguese. The search term used were video game training, combined with the following: cognition, cognitive effects, cognitive performance, cognitive plasticity, cognitive tests. The inclusion criteria consisted of intervention studies on video game training, original articles in English or Portuguese, full-text availability, and target population older people. Studies that failed to meet these criteria were excluded. Articles from 2005 to 2015 were collected, and the review was performed between January 2015 and July 2015.
Results: Seventy articles were found, but only twenty-one met the selection criteria. Of the 21 articles included in the study, only 7 studies (33%) revealed statistically significant improvement in speed of processing, sustained attention and alert, working visuospatial memory, cognitive flexibility, immediate and delayed visual memory, visual-motor coordination and visuospatial ability between the research groups (p<0.05). Other results were found in relation to the methodology of the studies. Of the 21 studies, 11 studies (52%) were performed with training of short duration (1-6 weeks) and total time of training ranging between 4.5 and 23.5 hours. Ten studies (47%) were performed with training of long duration (7-12 weeks) total time of training between 12 and 36 hours. The short duration training showed better performance.
Conclusions: The total time required for training was the main finding of this systematic review. Cognitive intervention using short duration training (between one and six weeks) with video games in a total time between 4.5 and 23.5 hours is effective in elderly participants. This length time between the minimum and maximum time of cognitive intervention is necessary and sufficient for the consolidation of systems and acquisition of a learning in aging. The cognitive effects observed in the studies suggest that the aging brain is able to acquire, maintain and even enrich new learnings.
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