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Study: Seniors Can Keep Their Minds Young Playing Video Games

Who would have thought that gunning down kamikaze pilots could keep you young?

That's the finding of a new University of Florida study that shows that playing video games helps senior citizens stay mentally alert.

But you don't have to tell that to residents of the Weinberg Village retirement home in Citrus Park, Fla., who are proving that conquering enemies in "Age of Empires" or "Medal of Honor" is no longer the domain of the young.

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Betty Jo Holland, 81, said her favorite game is "Medal of Honor" — a game that sets up World War II battlefield scenarios.

"I got one," she said as she mowed down a Japanese soldier to the cheers of resident onlookers.

Holland, who was 16 when the United States entered World War II, said she usually objects to violence, but admits she gets a thrill going after the bad guys of her youth.

"Is this one of the games that I can't kill the good guys?" she said.

Patricia Belchior, the study's lead researcher, said skills like mental sharpness and hand-eye coordination were improved when seniors, regardless of age, played the video games.

"There are some characteristics of the game that promote visual learning," she said.

Walter "Fast Fingers" Hill, 70, a participant in the study, said playing the games challenges him, despite the fact that he still gets wiped out by the enemy all the time.

"It does challenge me to figure out how to get around it. It involves the eyes, the brain, the hands; you get your body language in it, too," Hill explained.

Instead of sitting in his room, he said, the games keep him on the edge of his seat.

"It's more multidimensional than reading a book," Hill said.

But that's not the only benefit for older gamers.

"[The game] brings seniors out of their rooms and gets them involved in physical activities," said Dan Sultan of Weinberg Village, where gaming has become almost an obsession.

Meanwhile, the ladies of Weinberg Village are ready to put down their guns and pick up a golf club or get behind the wheel — in the virtual world, of course. They're asking for golf games and Wii driving games.

"[The video-game makers] need to have some of the talent out there developing some of the games that would appeal to older people," Hill said.

FOX News correspondent Orlando Salinas and Ahmad Shuja contributed to this report.