TECH
06/11/2013 04:45 GMT | Updated 06/11/2013 06:40 GMT

Playing Mario Bros Makes You Smarter And Increases Brain Size

You may dramatically gain weight, develop RSI and be crippled by rickets but the good news is - and we suspected this all along - playing video games makes you smarter.

Well, at least playing Super Mario does.

Scientists at Berlin's Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIHD) and Charite University have published a study saying just that.

mario bros

As if you needed an excuse...

Twenty-three subjects who played half an hour of Super Mario 64 on a Nintendo XXL every day for two months showed "significant" increases in brain matter.

The regions affected were the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum, responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation, strategic planning and motor skills.

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Simone Kühn, senior scientist at MPIHD, said: "While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase.

"This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games."

Aside from justifying hours of platform-based fun, there is also hope the findings could lead to the development of treatments for certain brain disorders.

Schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease are all typified by the altering or reduction in size of certain areas of the brain something which such treatment could possibly reverse.

It's not the first time the beneficial effects of video games has been demonstrated.

A study earlier this year found elderly people who played video games were less likely to be depressed.