Researchers from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California Los Angeles (USA) reported that Internet surfing helps to stimulate, and may quite possibly improve, brain health and cognitive ability.
The team studied men and women ages 55 to 76; half of them were experienced in Internet surfing, while the other half had no experience. The participants performed Internet searches and book-reading tasks while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, which tracked the intensity of cell responses in the brain by measuring the level of cerebral blood flow during cognitive tasks. While all study subjects showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task, only the Web-savvy group registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, which control decision-making and complex reasoning. Most striking, the team found that during Web searching, the study subjects with prior experience registered a twofold increase in brain activation (as compared to those with little Internet experience).
Surfing the Web is a simple, everyday task that enhances brain circuitry in older adults. If you’re an Internet newbie, take an introductory course at a local college. If you are Web savvy, share your knowledge with friends and colleagues.
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