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Can Esports Save the Brain from Aging?

Joseph Marquez's hands are blurry. His right thumb slides from button to button. His left thumb moves between an angle of only a quarter the size of a quarter. He's only seconds in his Super Smash Bros. Melee contest against Justin McGrath, 25 – and that's not going well.

The 27-year-old Marquez performs 325 actions per minute or five entries per second. This requires processing visual information on-screen, responding, thinking, strategizing and executing-all within milliseconds. His fingers hit buttons and trigger a series of movements. But it is not enough. Marquez, the eldest remaining star last August Evo 201

8 Melee falls into the loser class.

  EVO World Championships 2018 - Day 2

Joseph Marquez (right) is one of the older statesmen of Super Smash Bros. Melee eSports play.

] Getty Images Joe Buglewicz

He does not elaborate. "I'm not trying to think when I play," says Marquez, known as Mang0. And this strategy has been proven for a decade A star for Team Cloud9, a top team in the $ 700 million world of competitive gaming, better known as Esports. Marquez entered his first tournament in 2007, winning his first national crown a year later and was among the best riders since.

But he plays a sport whose players have a short shelf life. Traditional sports put a strain on body and mind, but sports are mostly mental. They challenge your brain, especially its knowledge centers, object perception hubs, and learning and processing machines. The reaction time and efficiency of these systems naturally begin to decrease in the mid-1920s. This may be the reason that people's esports are dominated in the early 20's. This means that Marquez may be approaching the game. Last year, he finished sixth in the career of the world melee .

Marquez says he'll "play as long as my hands allow", but he has to slow down the cognitive aging process. Emerging science gives hope. With the right training, Marquez and anyone with a PlayStation may be able to maintain or improve their brain performance.

Brain Reaction Time Ages. , , Fast

Age 24. This is the time when your brain's reaction time begins to slow, as a study by Simon Fraser University in British Columbia shows. The scientists analyzed reaction time data from 3,305 players, ages 16-44, and watched their reactions in playing StarCraft II, a game that allows you to make many decisions in real-time . The researchers achieved a "look-through" latency of how quickly players could spot and respond to something unique on the screen. A 39-year-old is about 150 milliseconds slower than a similarly experienced 24-year-old. That's up to 30 seconds of reaction every 15 minutes.

One possible chemical reason for this decline: N-acetylaspartate (NAA), the second most abundant concentrated amino acid in the central nervous system, is beginning to decline. Among the alleged features of NAA is the contribution of acetate to myelin sheaths, which isolate nerve cells and increase the speed and efficiency with which information moves throughout the brain. In combination with the shrinking of the memory-enhancing frontal lobe and the hippocampus, the ability to store and retrieve information begins.

Gaming may provide a workaround for many. Different video games seem to stimulate different parts of the brain. That means your Xbox can provide a brain workout – if used properly. But just as your body is not around the clock with fitness, your brain needs the right dose of games – not around the clock Call of Duty. Fighting games like Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter, encourage you to speed up your thinking process. Open World games such as Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto could prevent age-related volume loss in the hippocampus. The Science of Esports is still in its infancy. Therefore, both researchers and players are looking for the right mix (and do not agree with it).

Marquez does not seem to be interested in the research. Many Esports teams believe that more practice is better. Marquez's tournament preparation: He plays Super Smash Bros. Melee, a Nintendo GameCube game that he can also stream online all day. He does not change. "Maybe my reactions are a bit slower," he says. "But put me in a certain situation in the game and I can respond to a bullshit no one else can." While his experience can compensate for biological decline, he can not optimize his brain performance, says Mark Campbell, Ph.D. , who runs the three-year Lero eSports Science Research Lab at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

  FIFA eClub World Cup 2019 - Co-Round and Final

Getty Images Charlie Crowhurst – FIFA

Campbell says e-athletes may retire prematurely because they are made of relentless (and one-dimensional) Burning Out Training Hours Players focus on efficiency rather than volume and use intermittent training. In general, people can maintain their intense concentration for 15 minutes so that e-athletes should split their "training" into smaller, more intense blocks instead of just playing one game without interruption. Remember to work on the controllers' abilities for 15 minutes, then spend 15 minutes in the heat of the action and 15 minutes of play time. "The idea is with a bit of a purpose," he says.

The best games for your brain

This is worth considering, from preparing for the sport to your personal effort to train the brain, and it fits in with what the neurosciences generally learn about have learned. In addition to focused training, variety can be critical. Different games offer different cognitive benefits. Marquez, for example, misses the benefits the hippocampus brings in open-world games .

Such games can be used to explore three-dimensional game worlds. One of the first video games to do so was Super Mario 64, [19969004] a 1996 Nintendo 64 game and the subject of a German 2014 study. The researchers let him play for at least half an hour every day for two months. In the regions responsible for spatial processing, memory, strategic planning, and motor skills, an increase in brain volume was observed.

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Super Mario 64 was one of the first video games with proven brain enhancement abilities.

Getty Images CARIN WING

Why? "Craig Stark, University of California's neurobiology professor Irvine, who explores how video games affect minds, could have the answer: the" environmental enrichment effect "observed in mice with toys and places to explore and" wonderful things happen with his ability to learn new information, "he says.

" Immersive 3-D varieties, "says Stark," turn you into a mouse. The Brilliant Esport Example. "Is World of Heavyweights League of Legends. " You have to remember where you go, where your resources are, and then stick to all that information, "says Stark. "People who make League of Legends keep their hippocampi in good shape." Our brains are designed to receive and store new information so you can use environmental enrichment to build your own skills "Navigate around and get home without this beautiful little iPhone GPS," says Stark.

Brain Gaming is on the Rise

Athletes from more physical sports appreciate the simulated exploration that takes place NFL and NBA athletes use NeuroTracker a virtual reality game where you can track multiple targets in a 3D field For the entire season, a prediction for the performance statistics of the athletes. The military also uses virtual reality flight and combat simulators. NASA uses VR simulations to train for rescue and to practice spacewalks. To turn the script over, player Jann Mardenborough recently became a driver in a real motorsport team from a 2011 Gran Turismo 5 champion. (Yes, really.)

The rise of esports and esport research means more attention for Marquez, who meets his main opponent, Adam "Armada" Lindgren, in this loser class. The 25-year-old Lindgren belonged to his eldest in 2017. At Evo 2018, Marquez and his favorite character Falco fall again on Lindgren. More age-related slippage? Marquez is defiant. "I really do not think age matters very much," he says. But Lindgren is burned out. Weeks later, on YouTube, he announces that he is retiring from Smash singles. Nevertheless, Marquez, the Atari of his craft, goes nowhere. "They may even get smarter as you get older," he says.

If you play the right games.

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