If you think the grandchildren or even your own kids play too many video games, perhaps you should follow suit, some researchers are saying.
According to a new study by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, mental exercises done through video games before major surgery can help prevent postoperative delirium, while actually speeding up the surgical recovery process.
Known as ‘neurobics’, this method of brain training was found to have effectively helped reduce the risk of postoperative delirium in certain patients by over 60% in patients.
Postoperative delirium can increase patient recovery times after major surgeries involving anesthesia and even increase the likelihood of death in patients over 55.
It can even cause sudden changes in mental ability that leave patients hyper-aggressive and agitated, or even sleepy and lethargic. Delirium can negatively impact how an older patient recovers from an illness or operation and can cause permanent mental and physical damage.
The Ohio researchers gave 268 patients over the age of 60 a tablet loaded with cognitive games focusing on memory, speed, attention, flexibility, and problem-solving.
Patients that played between five and ten hours in advance of the procedure reduced their chances of delirium by 50%, while those that played over 10 hours reduced their risk of delirium by 61%.
Michelle Humeidan, MD, an associate professor of anesthesiology at Ohio State and lead author of the study, said, “Patients who practiced neurobics were 40% less likely to experience postoperative delirium than those who did not, and the results improved the more hours they played.”
This unique regimen of “prehabilitation” leading up to surgery has increased in recent years, also advocating for regular physical exercise and a healthy diet.
The use of brain games is likely to advance further research on the correlation between reducing delirium and mental exercises.
If video games are not one’s interest, Dr. Humeidan also suggests reading, crossword puzzles, and any other brain challenges each day that can provide the same positive stimulating effects to a patient’s mental fitness.