By Drew Bollea

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Video games are being used by a U.C. Davis researcher to improve mental health in patients and even healthy seniors.

For 15 minutes a day and four days a week, Paul McClish plays a specialized video game.

“One was called target, and it was kind of taking place in a spaceship,” explained McClish.

The 22-year Air Force Veteran is now 73 years old. He is a healthy aging senior, taking part in a study to refine this digital medicine.

“If there is something they can do with games to help your memory last longer, then let’s give it a shot,” said McClish.

He plays the games, then, gets tested on brain function skills. He’s had noticeable improvement.

“This will have effects on reducing things like the risk of falling in seniors, the risk of crashing their cars, in seniors,” explained Dr. Tony Simon.

He is a professor at UC Davis. He also started a company last year called Cognivive, which developed the games.

“It’s a way to really kind of stimulate those brain circuits and improve something that is actually impaired,” said Simon.

He says the mind can struggle with processing information due to old age, an injury, or because of a developmental disability.

“It gets very blurry, you can’t measure things, you can’t judge things very well,” said Simon.

The specialized games work on motor skills, tracking, and multi-tasking.

The next frontier of the games he creates will be virtual reality.

“This activity is essentially stimulating your ability to capture information at a wider and wider part of the visual field,” said Simon.

It’s a future that McClish is helping to create.

“Who knows what kind of breakthroughs could be possible,” said McClish.

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