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Do Video Games Damage the Brain?

A Japanese surgeon claims that video games can damage thebrain. Akio Mori, a cranial nerve specialist at NihonUniversity College of Humanities and Sciences in Tokyo, sayshe?s concerned about the impact of video games on children'sbrains, after he recorded a lack of beta brainwave activityin young people who played them frequently.

He says this shows the children were barely using thefrontal regions of their brains, which are important foremotional processing, planning and self-control. "If levelsof beta brainwaves are very low, people get angry easily andhave difficulty in concentrating," Mori says.

His conclusions are based on an analysis of EEG test resultsfrom 240 people between six and 29 years old. Mori comparedthe amount of alpha and beta brainwave activity betweenpeople who rarely played video games, those who played forone to three hours per day for three or four days a week,and those who played them every day for up to seven hours.Mori found beta waves were almost absent in the heavygamers, even when they weren?t playing, as if the frontallobes had been somehow turned off.

But the assumption that part of the brain could becomechronically underused from too much gaming are premature,according to Dennis Schutter, a neuroscientist at UtrechtUniversity in the Netherlands. He says, "My guess is thatfatigue is the most likely cause of the absence of the betawaves and not the gaming per se."

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