The University of Florida is testing if mental sharpness is improved for seniors that play video games. I've heard of this idea before. Plus, Nintendo DS's Brain Age -- a game with short mental puzzles -- targets commercials to older adults, implying that playing games makes you less forgetful.
I'm sure playing Halo may keep granny mentally fit, but do all seniors have the patience to play these games? I think simple, short puzzle games like Brain Age are great for keeping the mind sharp, but I doubt doctors are going to start saying, "Play two hours of Guitar Hero and call me in the morning." Because it's a generation that might not have the patience to learn how to play.
However, my generation learned to walk with a controller in one hand and a sippy cup in the other. We'll probably be having Mario Kart tournaments at our nursing homes. So if video games help the mind, then I suppose our generation will have less forgetful moments in our senior years, theoretically speaking.
The University of Central Florida has a broader study going on now to see if video games help people with alcohol and substance abuse problems.
My colleague John Dorschner has the full story, which you can read here: 2 Fla. schools to test video games' health effects.