Video games provide a fun escape from reality, though they're often portrayed as violent, lazy and a waste of time by some. The debate has raged on for years. So are there any positive effects? Can video games actually make you smarter? Before we get ahead of ourselves, it's important that too much of anything is bad. Even broccoli. Seriously. Extremely high doses of broccoli can actually be toxic. Heck, even water toxicity exists. So if you binge, and do nothing but play video games, the risks probably outweigh any benefits. In fact, we have an entire video devoted to "What Would Happen If You Stopped Going Outside?", and "The Negative Effects of Sitting". Having said that, many studies have shown increases in cognitive function after playing video games. One study in particular had participants play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for 2 months. Afterwards, the brains of these participants saw an increase of grey matter in areas associated with memory, strategic planning and fine motor skills of the hands compared to those who had not played. These are particularly encouraging results for mental disorders that cause these brain regions to shrink, using video games as a therapy. Surprisingly, video games can increase attention to detail in individuals. Also, video games can be incredibly educational. And while you may not be playing some of your favorite games for this purpose, certainly many games are used as effective teaching tools for both young and old. They may even help kids who suffer from dyslexia read more effectively. In a small study, dyslexic children played regular video games ended up reading faster and more accurately, once again, relating to improved attention skills. Meanwhile, other studies have found improvements in eyesight. Not only can they see smaller details, clearly, like tiny writing, but they have an easier time differentiating levels of grey. Like, very practiced action gamers were 58% better at perceiving fine differences in contrast, which is important as this is one of the first things to diminish with age. Even in the elderly, improved memory and focus is seen, and more importantly, specially designed and brain teasing video games have been shown to slow the aging process by up to 7 years. This is because they are cognitively complex and require mental energy. It turns out that normal people can track 3-4 objects, while practiced action gamers can track 6-7. Finally, as technology continues to transform medicines, surgeries are being completed with the insertion of cameras and remote controlled tools. These surgeries have very clear parallels to video games with a screen and a controlling device. Not surprisingly, young doctors with previous exposure to video games show fewer errors and faster completion than those without. Of course, all of these skills are only useful if you use them, which you can't if all you do is play video games. So enjoy your down time, and relax with your games and moderation, but get out there and keep your life diverse.