Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Internet Keeps the Old Mind Young

news you may not know

Keep Your Mind Young...

Do you love to surf? Does the thrill of the unknown send tingles down your spine, send you running in wild anticipation toward...

Your computer?

Well, if you love the kind of surfing you do online, that may be a good thing. Especially if you're a bit on the old hang-dog side of surfing fitness.

Researchers at UCLA decided to see what impact, if any, surfing the web had on the brain - particularly the brain of those over 65 years of age. So, they recruited 24 reasonably normal (can any of us really claim to be normal?) individuals between 55 and 76. Half of the volunteers were already experienced at searching the Internet, while the other half preferred more traditional methods of information gathering - presumably relying primarily on asking friends and family members.

The groups completed two tasks: reading a book and searching the web. Each individual's brain activity was observed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a type of scan that allows researchers to observe the intensity of activity within different areas of the brain.

During the reading task the visual cortex, which controls reading and language, lit up like a bonfire on a dark night. During the Internet search task there was even greater activity - but, only in the brains of those who already knew how to search the web.

It appears the same is true of surfing the web as the more precarious surfing activity - the more you practice the better you get. In this case that means increasing your ability to use more of your brain.

Surf's up...

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters.


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