UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in Children

October 14, 2011 -

Two UK tabloids - The Sun and The Daily Mail - are highlighting comments from a neuroscientist who claims that video games can cause dementia in children. Neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield told a gathering at the science centre (part of the Sherbourne Girls' School) in Dorset this week that online gaming and activities such as Facebook can "disable connections in the brain" - and in extreme circumstances - cause dementia in children. She also said that, on average, children spend around 2,000 hours a year either playing games or doing other things online.

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

She went on to say that such activity could cause connections in the brain to be "temporarily disabled",  or even  "inactivated permanently by degeneration — ie. dementia." Other symptoms she mentioned included shortened attention spans and a tendency for reckless behavior.

She also emphasized that children need to spend more time outside and less time on the Internet or playing games.

Baroness Greenfield is Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology (the study of drugs that act on the synapses) at Lincoln College in Oxford, as well as a member of the House of Lords.

While her comments make great fodder for the UK tabloids, both reports do not mention any specific research cited by Greenfield during her speech. We doubt any such research exists, because her comments are simply over the top.

You can read The Sun's report here and the Daily Mail's report here.

Source: MCV


Comments

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

Actually Susan Greenfield is well known within the scientific community and quite derided, essentially because she constantly makes wild claims (as a scientist) without an basis of evidence. She's well known for being outspoken and playing fast and loose with facts. She abuses her position too much.

She's been controversial and lost her credibility a long time ago.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

Did some further reading and found this gem: "'Of course, we do not know whether the current increase in autism is due more to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, or whether it can - if there is a true increase - be in any way linked to an increased prevalence among people of spending time in screen relationships. Surely it is a point worth considering,' she added."

She thinks using the computer causes Autism. Case closed, this Baroness is a an embarrassment.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

From the article "She also said that, on average, children spend around 2,000 hours a year either playing games or doing other things online."

Do a little math and that comes out to 5.5 hours a day, every day. BS. Some kids are on that long and longer but I really doubt the average is that high.

More importantly she presents ZERO data to back up her claims. That makes her claims totally and completely worthless. You can't say stuff like this:

"She went on to say that such activity could cause connections in the brain to be "temporarily disabled",  or even  "inactivated permanently by degeneration — ie. dementia." Other symptoms she mentioned included shortened attention spans and a tendency for reckless behavior."

without sound data to back it up. It just makes you look like a lunatic. Another old stogy dinosaur afraid of technology that she doesn't understand.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

I'm smarter than a scientist! :D

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

For a given value of "scientist" of course.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

To quote Christopher Titus

 

"Why am I not psychotic!?!?!?"

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

What she proabaly forgot to mention was the new drug they were researching that would counteract the effects that these children were going through.  That averages out to just a touch over 5 and a half hours a day every day all year long.  So according to her the average kid gets online at 4pm and doesn't stop till 930pm or so.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

By my calculations, it came out to just under 5 & a half hours actually (5.47 to be precise). And I'm pretty sure most of those take place at school, for academic purposes, under teacher supervision. So she's basically bashing today's education.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

Based solely off the fact that it was reported by the Daily Mail, I am going to assume that the actual comments were far more tempered and reasonable than the article claims.

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

No, I wouldn't doubt that she'd actually say something like this.

What Ben Goldacre had to say about her a couple of years ago is worth reading.

(With the caveat that I think his second point, while it's something I personally agree with, is kind of neither here nor there.)

Re: UK Neuroscientist Claims Games Can Cause Dementia in ...

Yeah, being sourced in the Sun and the Daily Mail doesn't exactly make for overwhelming credibility!

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which group is more ethically challenged?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Yuuri@ Goth_Skunk, in many states being gay is not a protected status akin to say race or religion. It's also in the "Right to work" states. Those are the states where one can be fired for any reason (provided it isn't a "protected" one.)07/07/2015 - 6:07am
Goth_Skunkregarded as a beacon of liberty and freedom that is the envy of the world, would not have across-the-board Human Rights laws that don't at the very least equal those of my own country.07/07/2015 - 5:47am
Goth_SkunkI find that hard to believe, Infophile. I have difficulty believing employers can *still* fire people for being gay. I would need to see some evidence that this is fact, because as a Canadian, I can't believe that the United States,07/07/2015 - 5:46am
InfophileFor that matter, even women don't yet have full legal equality with men. The US government still places limits on the positions women can serve in the military. And that's just the legal side of things - the "culture wars" are more than just laws.07/07/2015 - 5:43am
InfophileAnd that's just LGB issues. Get ready for an incoming battle on rights for trans* people. And then after that, a battle for poly people.07/07/2015 - 5:41am
InfophileA battle's been won. In many states employers can still fire people for being gay. And in many states, parents can force their children into reparative therapy to try to "fix" being gay. Those battles still need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:40am
Goth_Skunkand now they've switched to battles that don't need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:37am
Goth_SkunkIn my opinion, it was the final legal hurdle denying homosexual couples final and recognized statuses as eligible spouses. But even though this war's been won, some people are still too keen to keep fighting battles,07/07/2015 - 5:28am
Goth_SkunkAnd it's a trend I don't mind seeing continue. Same-sex marriage was at long-last made definitively legal by SCOTUS, and it's about time. I'm glad it's finally happened, as it was desperately needed.07/07/2015 - 5:25am
Infophile(cont'd) It started long before that. Perhaps the American Civil War comes to mind?)07/07/2015 - 3:59am
InfophileOn Goth's linked article: Historically speaking, there may have been cycles, but remember that the left has steadily gained ground. Is there a good reason to expect that to be different this time? (Oh, and no, Culture War 1.0 wasn't with the Baby Boomers.07/07/2015 - 3:59am
Goth_Skunk"THIS VIDEO IS PROBLEMATIC:" About Social Justice Warriors, by J.T. Sexkik. Excellent video. http://ow.ly/PgGnD07/07/2015 - 3:22am
Goth_Skunkand repeats the cycle, over and over. Presently, the far left culture is overreaching, and is about to lose their stranglehold on power.07/06/2015 - 10:01pm
Goth_SkunkAs far back as the 60's, according to the writers. The culture war moves in cycles from one generation to the next. The left rebels against the right, takes over, overreaches to the point where the right rebels right back, takes over, overreaches ->07/06/2015 - 9:58pm
MattsworknameGoth, what "Comming overreach" , the media and goverment have been overreaching for years07/06/2015 - 9:34pm
MattsworknameJim sterling is awesome ,dont always agree with him, but when it came to those guys, he was dead on. Thank god for jim.07/06/2015 - 9:33pm
Goth_Skunk"Welcome to Culture War 4.0: The Coming Overreach" an excellent opinion piece by The Federalist. http://ow.ly/Pggw507/06/2015 - 9:32pm
Wymorencehttp://goo.gl/snN00H Okay, this is hysterical if you've followed the Digital Homicide Vs. Jim "Mother****ing" Sterling stuff. A podcast of the two groups talking it out with one being eviscerated07/06/2015 - 9:12pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.engadget.com/2015/07/06/kuratas-versus-megabot-robot-duel/ ok I want to see this. not gamming related but still cool. us giant robot vs Japanese giant robot.07/06/2015 - 8:39pm
Goth_SkunkFair point.07/06/2015 - 7:56pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician