Health News That Counts
Internet Brain Gym
Brain gym by surfing the Internet is good for older people. It has long been know that brain activity, such as crossword puzzles, playing chess, studying new languages etc., help keep aging brains young. Now it has been shown that searching on the Internet does wonders for old age pensioners, keeping their minds active and healthy.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, led by Dr. Gary Small, an expert on aging at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. studied people, between the ages of 55 and 76, doing Web searches while their brain activity was being recorded.
He found that people new to the Internet, read the pages superficially, while those who are familiar with the Internet engage in a much deeper level of brain activity, as they actively searched the web sites
In the aging brain, atrophy and reduced cell activity can take a toll on cognitive function. Activities that keep the brain engaged can preserve brain health and thinking ability. In addition, Internet surfing can be a highly intellectually stimulating activity. Like sitting in a university library.
Entertainment sites are challenging in other ways, by engaging the searcher's mind, to try and surf through the distracting inane trivia flotsam, of bells and whistles graphics. Many of these “cool” sites are challenging for older surfers raised on films and entertainment from the slower, less hyper era of the 50s and 60s.To find meaningful content in some of these “cool” sites, with high Google ranking, is challenging.
Small said, “A simple, everyday task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults, demonstrating that our brains are sensitive and can continue to learn as we grow older.”
All the participants showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task, specifically in the temporal, parietal and occipital lobes of the brain, which are involved in controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities.
But Internet searches revealed differences between the two groups. While all the participants showed the same activity as during the book-reading, the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, whereas those new to the net did not. These areas of the brain control decision-making and complex reasoning.
So for all you older folk out there, like me, how about Googling for crossword puzzles?