Pediatric Health: Video Games Linked to Improved Motor Skill Learning

The study, published in the journal Annals of Neurology, suggests that playing every week could benefit children, including better motor skills and higher school achievements grades. In a press release, children traditionally acquire motor skills through action, for instance, about sports and outdoor games,” explained lead author Jesus Pujol, MD, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain. “Neuroimaging research now suggests that training with desktop virtual environments is also capable of modulating brain systems that support motor skill learning.

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For the study, the researchers recruited 2,442 children aged 7 to 11 years to investigate the relationship between weekly video game use, selected cognitive abilities, and conduct-related problems. The researchers observed that children playing video games for one hour every week have better motor skills and higher school achievement scores. However, no further benefits were observed in children playing video games for two or more hours per week. Furthermore, children who played video games for nine hours or more experience some negative effects.

Including conduct problems, peer conflicts, and reduced social abilities.  Approximately one year later after the start of the study, the researchers asked 260 of the participants to undergo magnetic resonance imaging to assess the impact of video gaming on brain structure and formation. The researchers noted changes associated with gaming at a neural level, most evident in basal ganglia white matter and functional connectivity.

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