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Computers Boost Brain Function?

Research published in the October 2008 edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that surfing the internet may boost brain function for middle aged and older adults.

For the study, researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles measured the brain activity of 24 volunteers while they searched the internet. The volunteers ranged in age from 55 to 76. Half had experience searching the web while the other half did not.

The brain activity of the volunteers was monitored using a method called functional magnetic resonance imaging scans (fMRI). The fMRI scan uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer in order to produce a detailed picture of the brain.

The scans showed that the volunteers who had web searching experience used much more of their brain than those who did not. Participants that were experienced with the internet were also able to attain a much deeper level of brain activity, similar to the level of activity present when attempting to solve complicated puzzles or problems.

According to lead researcher Dr. Gary Small, this increased brain activity indicates that searching the internet may keep the brain active and healthy.

As people age, cellular activity in the brain decreases. That can lead to diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's, cerebral atrophy and memory loss. Activities that engage your brain, such as puzzles, social activities, and reading have been shown to help improve memory and overall brain health. Based on the results of this study, surfing the internet may be another easy way to help keep your brain active and your memory sharp.
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