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Posts with tag alzheimers

Can playing WoW improve your brain power?

Older players improve cognitive function through playing WoW
Can playing World of Warcraft maintain or improve your brain power? When it comes to specifics like improving cognitive function, there really haven't been many significant, sizeable research studies that can put hard numbers on the line. WoW player and early onset Alzheimer's disease sufferer Bill Craig would certainly attest to the power of gaming in maintaining brain function -- he's living proof that WoW can be a vital part of a brain-healthy regimen to stretch and maintain cognitive function. (If you haven't already read Bill's story, you owe it yourself to follow that link. It'll make your day.)

So when news of a fresh research project looking at WoW's effects on cognitive abilities in older players started making the rounds in the national media, Bill was one of the first to ping us with an excited email. "Tell us something we didn't already know, right, Lisa?" he crowed. "Guess I might be called a 'pioneer' of sorts, huh?" Indeed, Bill, you're totally my hero -- and look out, because it looks like the scientific world is starting to catch on and catch up to our secrets.

This week, WoW Insider interviews Dr. Jason Allaire at North Carolina State University, who co-authored the recent study showing that playing WoW can boost certain cognitive functions in older adults. Himself a former WoW player and long-time MMO player, Dr. Allaire shares a gaming-filtered view of how his research and WoW interrelate to show that indeed, World of Warcraft can be good for your brain.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Holding fast to Azeroth through the journey of Alzheimer's

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Bill Craig is doing it right. The 61-year-old WoW player has suffered from early-onset Alzheimer's disease for half a dozen years now, winding his way through Azeroth for about half that time. He's ridden a bicycle all the way from Carrollton, Texas, to Carrollton, Georgia, to raise money and awareness for animal welfare -- not once but twice. He's a Vietnam vet. He serves as an advocate with the Alzheimer's Association, having recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., with his wife to meet with legislators about bills impacting Alzheimer's. Bill's contributions and commitment to his community and country are impressive for any seasoned professional, let alone someone living with a disease that monkeywrenches a person's thinking, memory and behavior.

I know Bill's doing it right because I live under the baleful gaze of Alzheimer's, too. My mother passed away two years ago after a particularly cruel struggle with the disease. She began batting aside its first tendrils while caring for my grandmother, also stripped bare by Alzheimer's. My father wanders through a related type of dementia -- perversely, with all the sets of symptoms my mother never developed. (Ding! We hit the jackpot, I guess.) In my work, I've written about Alzheimer's and the incredible burdens it places on families, parents with young children who now also care for their own parents over the painfully protracted years it takes life to trickle away. Alzheimer's is inextricably part of my life, too.

So none of that makes me special -- Alzheimer's grip on families is all too common -- but it does mean I can say one thing with certainty: Bill Craig is doing it right. His view of Azeroth, however, is very different from yours or mine.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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