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Video gaming may be associated with better cognitive performance in children

Some parents worry about the negative impact video games could have on their children, but gaming may be associated with improved cognitive abilities, a new study found.

Kids who play video games for three or more hours per day performed better on impulse control and memory tests than children who don’t play games, according to research published Monday in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers analyzed brain scans from more than 2,000 school-age participants in the ongoing Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the country.

The study has been the largest investigation into the association between video gaming, cognition and brain function, according to Bader Chaarani, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and lead author on the study.

“This study adds to our growing understanding of the associations between playing video games and brain development,” National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow said in a statement. “Numerous studies have linked video gaming to behavior and mental health problems. This study suggests that there may also be cognitive benefits associated with this popular pastime, which are worthy of further investigation.”

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