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      Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: gray matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game.

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          Abstract

          Video gaming is a highly pervasive activity, providing a multitude of complex cognitive and motor demands. Gaming can be seen as an intense training of several skills. Associated cerebral structural plasticity induced has not been investigated so far. Comparing a control with a video gaming training group that was trained for 2 months for at least 30 min per day with a platformer game, we found significant gray matter (GM) increase in right hippocampal formation (HC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and bilateral cerebellum in the training group. The HC increase correlated with changes from egocentric to allocentric navigation strategy. GM increases in HC and DLPFC correlated with participants' desire for video gaming, evidence suggesting a predictive role of desire in volume change. Video game training augments GM in brain areas crucial for spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance going along with evidence for behavioral changes of navigation strategy. The presented video game training could therefore be used to counteract known risk factors for mental disease such as smaller hippocampus and prefrontal cortex volume in, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease.

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          Most cited references 54

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          A fast diffeomorphic image registration algorithm.

          This paper describes DARTEL, which is an algorithm for diffeomorphic image registration. It is implemented for both 2D and 3D image registration and has been formulated to include an option for estimating inverse consistent deformations. Nonlinear registration is considered as a local optimisation problem, which is solved using a Levenberg-Marquardt strategy. The necessary matrix solutions are obtained in reasonable time using a multigrid method. A constant Eulerian velocity framework is used, which allows a rapid scaling and squaring method to be used in the computations. DARTEL has been applied to intersubject registration of 471 whole brain images, and the resulting deformations were evaluated in terms of how well they encode the shape information necessary to separate male and female subjects and to predict the ages of the subjects.
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            An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function.

            The prefrontal cortex has long been suspected to play an important role in cognitive control, in the ability to orchestrate thought and action in accordance with internal goals. Its neural basis, however, has remained a mystery. Here, we propose that cognitive control stems from the active maintenance of patterns of activity in the prefrontal cortex that represent goals and the means to achieve them. They provide bias signals to other brain structures whose net effect is to guide the flow of activity along neural pathways that establish the proper mappings between inputs, internal states, and outputs needed to perform a given task. We review neurophysiological, neurobiological, neuroimaging, and computational studies that support this theory and discuss its implications as well as further issues to be addressed
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              Regional brain changes in aging healthy adults: general trends, individual differences and modifiers.

              Brain aging research relies mostly on cross-sectional studies, which infer true changes from age differences. We present longitudinal measures of five-year change in the regional brain volumes in healthy adults. Average and individual differences in volume changes and the effects of age, sex and hypertension were assessed with latent difference score modeling. The caudate, the cerebellum, the hippocampus and the association cortices shrunk substantially. There was minimal change in the entorhinal and none in the primary visual cortex. Longitudinal measures of shrinkage exceeded cross-sectional estimates. All regions except the inferior parietal lobule showed individual differences in change. Shrinkage of the cerebellum decreased from young to middle adulthood, and increased from middle adulthood to old age. Shrinkage of the hippocampus, the entorhinal cortices, the inferior temporal cortex and the prefrontal white matter increased with age. Moreover, shrinkage in the hippocampus and the cerebellum accelerated with age. In the hippocampus, both linear and quadratic trends in incremental age-related shrinkage were limited to the hypertensive participants. Individual differences in shrinkage correlated across some regions, suggesting common causes. No sex differences in age trends except for the caudate were observed. We found no evidence of neuroprotective effects of larger brain size or educational attainment.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Mol. Psychiatry
                Molecular psychiatry
                Springer Nature
                1476-5578
                1359-4184
                Feb 2014
                : 19
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany.
                [2 ] Charité University Medicine, St Hedwig-Krankenhaus, Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Berlin, Germany.
                [3 ] 1] Charité University Medicine, St Hedwig-Krankenhaus, Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Berlin, Germany [2] Department of Psychology, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
                Article
                mp2013120
                10.1038/mp.2013.120
                24166407

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