Gaming & MS

So, let me tell you how excited I was to see a news release about how video gaming helps those with multiple sclerosis! I did a little happy dance about this because I am a total gamer. Not just on a gaming console but in the App Store on my phone and all that. Games seem to really challenge me and help me keep my train of thought.

Noticing how video games seemed to help my cog-fog

When I have some free time, which I try to make time for daily, I will play video games on the Xbox or on my tablet. My husband actually noticed that after I started playing more games, my ‘cog-fog’ issues seemed to happen less and less. Now, if only we could all be professional gamers - ha-ha! Anyway, I’ve also played games on Facebook and on the computer in general, prior to there being easy access to games through apps.

Strengthening connections in the brain

So, back to the of the first sentences is what I really wanted to highlight: “Video games targeting cognitive abilities may improve brain function in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study found. Results, published in the journal Radiology, showed that these games strengthen connections between neurons in the thalamus, a brain region crucial for information processing.”1

Challenging myself

It seems that they were looking at specific games to target the cognitive abilities in the brain, but I just wanted to share that I’ve personally found that challenging myself here and there just playing games has really helped. Especially the brainteasers, the ones that make you think, etc. My thought process has seemed to speed up with the help of games that keep me on my toes, where I have to process the information quickly, etc.

Now I have an excuse to play games

Now, when my husband asks me what I’m doing on my tablet, phone, computer, or why I’m playing the Xbox, I say, “Don’t judge me, I’m improving my cognition.” To which he just laughs and shakes his head at me about it...but you get the idea.

Quality time with my kids

My interest in wanting to play more games has really brought more quality time with my kids, too, because I have two boys who are 7 and almost 10. So this is an activity that we get to participate in together, and they have no idea that it is helping me in some ways.

Also, I’m not saying that ALL games have helped me - just some of them. I mean, it’s hard to say that HALO (my favorite) or Call Of Duty have helped my thought process, but at least it’s something that I enjoy doing, instead of just sitting around pondering the ‘what-ifs’ in life.

Making video games more accessible

I remember last year, that I attended the Abilities Expo in DC-Metro Area. One presenter, Dr. Kantor, actually interviewed someone who made a charity for those with disabilities that like to play video games but need some sort of assistance. It's called AbleGamers, and they work to give people with disabilities custom gaming setups, including modified controllers and special assistive technology. This was something that I was VERY excited to hear about and I wanted to share with my fellow MS’ers (and fellow gamers) out there.

Do you enjoy playing video games? Tell us your favorite games in the comments and if you have noticed any improvement in your cognitive symptoms!

Ashley Ringstaff

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