Surfing the Web may improve brain health in older Adults.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Brain (Health aspects)
Brain (Physiological aspects)
Brain (Medical examination)
Aged (Health aspects)
Aged (Research)
Cerebral circulation (Health aspects)
Cerebral circulation (Research)
Database searching (Health aspects)
Database searching (Research)
Internet/Web search services (Health aspects)
Internet/Web search services (Research)
Online searching (Health aspects)
Online searching (Research)
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 192800779

Performing an Internet search is a daily task for many Americans. Most search the Web looking for answers to questions, however big or small. Now scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, are suggesting that older adults who perform this task may be improving brain function as well.

The UCLA study involved 24 adults between the ages of 55 and 76, half of which had previous experience with surfing the Internet. As the participants performed the Web searches, the researchers monitored their cerebral blood flow through the use of MRIs. Results of the study showed that certain centers in the brain responsible for decision making and reasoning were triggered, but only in the group who were familiar with the Web. Those who had no previous experience did not exhibit the same levels of brain activity, perhaps due to the experience being brand new. Dr. Gary Small, Director of UCLA's Memory and Aging Research Center, proposed that perhaps with more online exposure, the beginning group of Internet searchers could reach the same level of brain activity as the more experienced group.

"The study results are encouraging that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults," said Dr. Small.

The complete findings from the study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Parker-Pope, T. (2008, October 16). Surfing the Internet boosts aging brains. New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2008, from http://well.blogs.nytimes. com/2008/10/16/does-the-internet-boost-your-brainpower

MCT Illustration by Tim Lie/The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
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