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Save Your Brain By Surfing the Web

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:01pm

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Surfing the web is not just a great time waster – it could also keep your brain sharp as you age. A new study has found that older people who started web surfing saw improved brain function after just a few days.

Researchers discovered that after only a week of practice, the test subjects experienced much greater brain activity, especially in the areas that make decisions.

The research supports the now widely advocated “use-it-or-lose-it” approach to brain functioning. Other studies have found that crossword puzzles, writing, and playing chess could all help protect against declines in cognitive function due to aging.

For the study, reported at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, researchers had 24 adults aged 55 to 78 surf the web while connected up to an MRI scanner. Half the participants had previously used the web on a daily basis while the other half had little Internet experience.

The adults were asked to perform web searches for an hour on seven out of 14 days. At the start of the study, the group with prior Internet experience had more brain activity. However, after the two week period, those who had just been introduced to the web were catching up with the other group.

So keep on surfing, especially of you are getting older.

photo credit: Liz Henry

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