A new study shows that kids who play video games have better brain function than kids who don't.

Video games might not be to blame for the differences, but the findings add to a larger body of work showing that video game players have better brain function. Efforts to develop games that can treat cognitive problems are supported by that.

The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that the study adds to their understanding of the associations between playing video games and brain development.

The ABCD study is tracking brain development in thousands of children in the United States as they grow into adulthood. Brain scans, cognitive tasks, mental health screenings, physical health exams, and other tests are all part of the assessment process.

The first set of assessments in the ABCD study were pulled from the new study. There were 2, 217 children who were nine and 10 years old. Participants were asked how much time they spent playing video games on a weekday or weekend. The research team divided the group into two groups, one that played video games and the other that didn't. The study didn't include kids who only played occasionally. The research team looked at the performance on tests that measure attention, impulse control, and memory.

The video game players did better on the tests. They had different brain activity patterns when they were doing the tests and when they were playing the game. There was no difference between the two groups on measures of mental health.

A large body of work shows that the brains of people who play video games are different than those of people who don't. Video games that treat cognitive conditions are being developed by companies. Akili Interactive has a prescription video game to treat attention deficit disorder, and DeepWell wants to find the therapeutic value in existing games.

It's not clear why there are differences between the two groups. Video games could be to blame for the improvement in cognitive function. People who have better attention for tasks like the ones in this study are more likely to play video games. This new study didn't ask what games the people played, but there are many different kinds of video games.

In a commentary accompanying the study, Kirk Welker wrote that there were large gaps in our knowledge.