British Neuroscientist Says Games Cause Dementia

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British Neuroscientist Says Games Cause Dementia

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Scientist Susan Greenfield claims that videogames cause dementia in children. Who are we to argue?

In a recent article in the UK's The Sun newspaper, Baroness Greenfield (she's a baroness, for whatever that's worth) urged parents to drag their kids away from games, saying the electronic diversions can cause addiction and physical degeneration.

"Screen technologies cause high arousal which in turn activates the brain system's underlying addiction. This results in the attraction of yet more screen-based activity," Greenfield claims.

Additionally, Greenfield says, "connections" within the brain "can be temporarily disabled by activities with a strong sensory content -- 'blowing the mind'. Or they can be inactivated permanently by degeneration -- ie. dementia."

That's a pretty damning claim, but then again, Greenfield is a baroness (seriously, what does that mean?). Perhaps more importantly, Greenfield is also a scientist who specializes in the physiology of the human brain, and who has spent decades researching Alzheimer's, a disease characterized by exactly this same kind of neural degradation.

It stands to reason that she might know a thing or two about this topic, no?

Maybe not. It seems this isn't the first time Greenfield has attacked gaming. This blog entry by Bad Science author Dr. Ben Goldacre levels a harsh critique against Greenfield's claims, stating that despite years of this same rhetoric she has yet to publish (or even present) any sort of legitimate data to support her claims.

Continuing, Goldacre also points out that Greenfield has launched a line of games specifically designed to combat the kind of mental damage she claims other videogames can cause. In that light, her motivation for slamming the industry as dangerous has a familiar halo of capitalist intent, doesn't it?

At the end of the entry, Goldacre flat out says that if Greenfield truly believed what she was spouting, she would have a moral and ethical obligation to alert people via proper, respected channels.

"If you believe that computers - which are widespread - pose a serious environmental hazard to children, then you have a responsibility to your peers and most importantly the public to present your theory clearly and formally in an academic journal, so your scientific peers can assess it," Goldacre writes.

"Baroness Greenfield's response to my concerns, and my suggestion that she should write up her concerns about computers damaging childrens' brains formally, has been to say that I am like the people who denied that smoking caused cancer. I think that's just offensive, I'm afraid, and I'd be happy to debate her sensibly and publicly at her convenience."

Though the blog post was written in January 2010, Greenfield has yet to take Goldacre up on this offer.

Source: The Sun, via CVG
(Image)

Permalink

Dementia?
A fine price to pay for Skyrim!

Also the sun.

Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

Update: Ok, question has been very thoroughly answered. No need to reply any more.

Further update: No, seriously. Please stop quoting me.

Yes, I know about page 3 now. Yes others have already described the Sun as toilet paper. There's really no need to reiterate how bad it is.

She's a baroness, i.e., has nothing better to do with her time and craves attention.

I wouldn't wipe my arse with The Sun, let alone believe anything written on it.

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

One of those ones that mainly either makes shit up, or talks about celebritys.
Sometimes both at the same time.
Also tits on page 3

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

Toilet paper.

OT: A crazy old woman making up some shit that she can't back up with evidence?
Her "research" published by the Sun?
People still trying to find some way to attack video games?
Call me when something interesting happens.

The Sun is an awful tabloid newspaper where the only reason people buy it is for page 3 (nudes section) so this isnt credible at all.

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

The Sun is read by morons. It's genuinely the stupidest thing ever. Most people will point and laugh at you for reading it, and then they'll attack you with flaming pitchforks.

double post, gtfo.

Without any scientific support, she might as well say that happy thoughts create unicorns.

There may be some scientific basis for her conclusion, but until she is able/willing to show it to the world, there is no reason to listen to her or reprint her accusations.

We get enough of this silly rhetoric from American politicians (and Fox news). Her response that the objecting scientist's comments are akin to denying smoking causes cancer speaks volumes to her lack of credibility. And to speak to that last thought, everyone knows that bad thoughts cause cancer!

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

It's our version of Fox news, but has a suprise on page 3.

Could you please stop reporting on whatever bullshit the Sun and other such papers write?
Your practice of writing articles about whatever seems controversial enough isn't even funny anymore.
Not to mention that you always write them in a style that would put even the Sun to shame. I know you need the traffic, but come on.

The baroness (...): "What does it say about their identity if they are defining themselves by how others see them?"

Indeed.

I thought that there was evidence that the high level of interaction decreased one's chance of getting alzheimers? Maybe I was mistaken...or maybe she is a retard.

So, does the Baroness show her tits on page 3?

Fuck The Sun. They would come out with something like this. What else do you expect from a Rupert Murdoch tabloid? Biased, scaremongering crock of shit

That would explain it. I don't know it explains...who are you?

OT: Silly baroness... games themselves don't result in Dementia. You first need to get Oblivion, then the Shivering Isles expansion, then go through the door on the right.

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

Not wonderfully reputable I'm afraid. They were the ones who published the article on the 3DS causing headaches and nausea when used in a moving car.

OT: I was sceptical to begin with, but knowing that Ben Goldacre has a problem with her methods just validates my claim. For those who don't know, he writes about 'science' that is often reported in sensationalist stories like the one above, and how very often the studies are unpublished with no actual empirical backing.

So yeah, this just reeks of bullshit. Also, as with many of these claims, note that there is no mention of TV or films in there, despite the fact that they too are 'screen technologies.' Also, I highly doubt that connections in the brain can be temporarily shut down by strong sensory content, whatever that is.

Hey OP,

PLEASE KEEP THE BIAS AWAY FROM THESE ARTICLES.

Seriously, keep it up and you might end up at the same newspaper that publishes this bullshit.

]

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

Update: Ok, question has been very thoroughly answered. No need to reply any more.

I think Harry Enfield explains it fairly well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXuRvthgn4U

On topic? Pah. Nothing new here.
Move along kiddies, we get this all the time.

Oh look, more attention-grabbing sensationalistic titles with content from the Sun.
I enjoy a lot of the Escapists's content, but this sort of nonsense really is tiring.

Pfffft, this story's just plain crazy.

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

Update: Ok, question has been very thoroughly answered. No need to reply any more.

the sun is even worse than the dailymail so basicly its a tabloid wich is only famous for bad storys and "page 3" girls (nude pics)

I don't believe a word she says. I've been playing videogames since I was a kid and I never had any impaired reasoning because of this. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to throw this penguin into the washing machine while the monkeys play the harpoon. Shpoople!

Seriously, though, I'm going to expect a wave of people just out right disagreeing with her claims for all of the wrong reasons. I do believe that games can cause some negative side effects, especially with children, but I've seen a lot of gamers ignoring that and just disowning said claims, saying that games are just being used as a scapegoat.

Granted, Dr. Goldacre seemed to have put the baroness in her place by saying that if it is a legitimate concern, she should present it in a more academically mature manner. Still, I predict lots of people just coming to this thread and complaining how games/gamers are being treated.

That, or lots of people wondering what the hell that picture is about. Seriously, Cavalli, what the crap?

I stopped reading at "The Sun".

Honestly. I wouldn't believe what I read is written in The Sun even if I had previously believed it.

I just hope they don't learn of this and use it for reverse psychology.

Well I can't say these sort of comments were unexpected...

What? Games causing dementia? Baloney! Why, in fact, I ... wait, what was I talking about? Who are you people? Is this eBay?

OT: All minds are different. Some people can watch someone get a papercut and faint while others can watch someone get beheaded and find it amusing. Some people can use abject reasoning better than others. Some people's mental capacity deteriorates sooner than others. It all depends on the person. As for me, I've played games since I was about 5 or 6, I can still have logical, coherent thoughts.

Praise The Sun!

imnotparanoid:
Dementia?
A fine price to pay for Skyrim!

Also the sun.

i was so prepared to rage over this article, but this made it better.

Still, I like the claim she makes despite all evidence to the contrary, and general intelligence.

I wanna know if she herself used the phrase "blowing the mind", in which case she clearly deserves not a barony, but a trolldom

Oh look. People saying gaming is bad for you if you get addicted.
Isn't that a nice surprise surprise.
I did have an argument but for some odd reason I forgot it

Then again as much as I hate to admit it, I HAVE had basic signs of dementia on a simple level - forgetting things and what-not but it's not proper dementia and it's more to do with me being naturally stupid than games!

Oh, The Sun? Well, we can all disregard whatever she says.

Aidinthel:
Could UK Escapists please tell the rest of us what sort of paper the Sun is?

Update: Ok, question has been very thoroughly answered. No need to reply any more.

Further update: No, seriously. Please stop quoting me.

ok, i was going to quote you and say its a pile o' shittington, but you told me not to.

imnotparanoid:
Dementia?
A fine price to pay for Skyrim!

see, thats funny because there's a place called Dementia in Oblivon.
R-D-R-R.

Also reported in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/children_shealth/8825655/Video-games-can-alter-childrens-brains.html

'If you [do something] to the exclusion of other things this will create a new environment that will have new effects ... every hour you [do that thing] is an hour not spent [doing something else] or [another thing].' Doing anything to the exclusion of everything else will have a negative impact on someone, the fact that she's chosen to fill in that gap with video games says more about her biases than anything else really.

Earnest Cavalli:
Who are we to argue?

Earnest Cavalli:
In a recent article in the UK's The Sun newspaper

It's the Sun. We're basically obligated to argue it. You put too much trust into News Corp.

"The Sun newspaper"

That was the punchline.

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