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INTERNET INTELLECTUAL BRAINFOOD?

 
 
Sglass
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:12 pm



Researchers found that older adults who started browsing the Web experienced improved brain function after only a few days.


"You can teach an old brain new technology tricks," said Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatry professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of iBrain. With people who had little Internet experience, "we found that after just a week of practice, there was a much greater extent of activity particularly in the areas of the brain that make decisions, the thinking brain -- which makes sense because, when you're searching online, you're making a lot of decisions," he said. "It's interactive."


Small is co-author of the research, which was scheduled to be presented Monday in Chicago at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.


"This makes intuitive sense, that getting on the Internet and exploring and getting new information and learning would help," said Paul Sanberg, director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. "It supports the value of exploring the Internet for the elderly."


Most experts now advocate a "use-it-or-lose-it" approach to mental functioning.


"We found a number of years ago that people who engaged in cognitive activities had better functioning and perspective than those who did not," said Dr. Richard Lipton, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and director of the Einstein Aging Study. "Our study is often referenced as the crossword-puzzle study -- that doing puzzles, writing for pleasure, playing chess and engaging in a broader array of cognitive activities seem to protect against age-related decline in cognitive function and also dementia."


The new study takes the use-it-or-lose-it concept into the 21st century.


For the research, 24 neurologically normal adults, aged 55 to 78, were asked to surf the Internet while hooked up to an MRI machine. Before the study began, half the participants had used the Internet daily, and the other half had little experience with it.


After an initial MRI scan, the participants were instructed to do Internet searches for an hour on each of seven days in the next two weeks. They then returned to the clinic for more brain scans.


"At baseline, those with prior Internet experience showed a much greater extent of brain activation," Small said.


After at-home practice, however, those who had just been introduced to the Internet were catching up to those who were old hands, the study found.


"This is a demonstration that, over a relatively short period of time, patterns of brain activation while engaging in cognitive activities change," Lipton said. "That is at least a first step toward gaining insight into the mechanisms that might allow cognitive engagement to influence brain function."


But, Small said, beware how you use the Internet.


"You can exercise your mind by using the Internet, but it depends on how it's used," he explained. "If you get hooked on gambling or eBay shopping, that may not be positive."


More information


Harvard University's Whole Brain Atlas offers more on the brain.


Related Searches:cognitive function neuroscience ebay
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 2,582 • Replies: 20

 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:16 pm
@Sglass,
Humpf! Junk food for the brain.

I'm trying to learn Spanish for the same reason. Never felt dumber in my entire life.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:21 pm
@Sglass,
Being on the cusp of middle age (or in the middle of middle age, I'm not sure where the age border is in that case), I should be at the peak of my mental capacity the amount of time I spend on the internet then.
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:23 pm
@roger,
I liked that. Junkfood for the brain Very Happy
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:35 pm
@Sglass,
I would say that able2know is more like lobsters stuffed with steak for the brain.
roger
 
  3  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:36 pm
@tsarstepan,
Your expectations are somewhat high, in my opinion.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:43 pm
@roger,
I believe I've developed a condition of the blood. Instead of red blood cells, I have hyperbolic cells. I'm subjected to bouts of hyperbole and spouting out esoteric Simpsons' references, as exampled by the above paraphrased allusion.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:57 pm
@Sglass,
Gary Small, I remember him.


Lurks.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:13 pm
@ossobuco,
I'll back off. I remember the name, Gary Small, but not the details.

So it goes.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:17 pm
@Sglass,
Quote:

Researchers found that older adults who started browsing the Web experienced improved brain function after only a few days.


Gosh. Makes me wonder what they were doing with themselves before they started browsing.
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:32 pm
@msolga,
I watched a lot more tv and I read more books.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:52 pm
@Sglass,
I definitely watched more television (I don't watch it on a regular basis at all now) & read a lot more books.
I'm scratching my head because I would have imagined that reading lots of books would be more likely to lead to "improved brain function" than internet activity. But then, I guess it depends on which books & what sorts of internet activity?
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 12:07 am
@msolga,
Come to think of it, though ... I do a lot more personal research (of subjects I want to know more about) on the internet than I ever did using books. Perhaps I over-research some subjects. There is so much information out there!
0 Replies
 
Fatima10
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:04 pm
@msolga,
@Msolga (HI!)

Reading of course broadens our horizans.

As far as people using the internet, I believe one part of the improvement of brain function is because it is interactive. One must think and act upon their thoughts when using the computer. If done incorrectly, one must find a solution to the correct way to connect or ascertain what is needed. Exercise of the brain!

Additionally, I think there is the social aspect that connects people who otherwise do not, would not, have social interactions. For some people with health concerns, it is a wonderful manner to interact with others.

People, who doctors believe have the onsets of Alzheimers are often encouraged to do certain brain exercises: word puzzles, crossword puzzles and other such brain stretchers. This has been my experience with people I know who have the tentative diagnosis.

I guess it is all in how one uses one's computer. For growth, or for addictive habits?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:21 pm
@msolga,
It is believeable. Think back on the learning curve of learning to use a PC, learning to access the internet, learning to do searches using a search engine and then learning how to navigate the various layouts and styles of websites.

That's a lot of brain food.

It eventually becomes second nature and doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 05:06 am
@Fatima10,
Smile Fatima!

How lovely to see you again!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 05:13 am
@Butrflynet,
Quote:
Think back on the learning curve of learning to use a PC, learning to access the internet, learning to do searches using a search engine and then learning how to navigate the various layouts and styles of websites.


Yes, of course Butrflynet. I forgot about that side of the internet experience.

And resolving some of the problems that occur. Now that's very challenging brain food!
0 Replies
 
Fatima10
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 10:13 pm
@msolga,
msolga,
I am thinking the same thing!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Oct, 2009 12:58 am
@Fatima10,
Very Happy

So .. um... are you sticking around this time around, Fatima? Wink
Fatima10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Oct, 2009 01:49 pm
@msolga,
Well, given my track record......
Being a proponent of, 'Better the word unspoken'...and at the risk of boring myself & others...
Putting my toes back in the water at this time since it HAS been a long time away...
Answer: who knows, but thank you for asking!
 

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