PADUA, Italy, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Playing action video games can make dyslexic children read better, Italian scientists say, and even short spells with games can greatly increase reading skills.
Writing in the journal Current Biology, the researchers reported 12 hours of video game play did more for reading skills than is normally achieved with a year of spontaneous reading development or traditional reading treatments.
Previous studies have linked dyslexia to early problems with visual attention rather than language skills, they said.
"Action video games enhance many aspects of visual attention, mainly improving the extraction of information from the environment," Andrea Facoetti of the University of Padua said. "Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly."
The findings support the notion that visual attention deficits are at the root of dyslexia, a condition that makes reading extremely difficult for one out of every ten children, he said.
As of now, he said, no approved treatment for dyslexia includes video games.
However, he said, although the results are "very important in order to understand the brain mechanisms underlying dyslexia ... they don't put us in a position to recommend playing video games without any control or supervision."