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Thread: Web searching is good for the brain

  1. #1

    Web searching is good for the brain

    I have always thought that rapid interactive exosure to information stimulates the brain. Here is a study that suggest that it does activate the brain.


    Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have revealed that older adults are able to increase the efficiency of their brain by performing searches on the Internet. The survey performed shows that computer-savvy middle-aged and older adults were able to trigger key centres in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. The results may deduce that web search activity could assist in stimulating and possibly improve brain function.

    Dr. Gary W. Small (Credit: UCLA)

    Traditionally, adults are encouraged to pursue activities such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku, however the influence of the computer, especially the internet, might be able to keep the mind engaged and aid in preserving brain health and cognitive ability. As we age, the structure and the function of the brain are usually affected by atrophy, reductions in cell activity, and increases in deposits of amyloidal plaques and tau tangles, which can impact cognitive function.

    "The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults," said principal investigator Dr. Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. "Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function."

    The study utilised 24 neurologically normal research volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76, where half were never exposed to the internet and the rest were familiar with search methods on the internet. To standardise the study, the participants of the two groups were of similar age, educational level, and gender.

    Data was recorded from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans which were obtained while the volunteers were asked to perform internet searchers and book-reading tasks. The scans were able to record subtle brain-circuitry changes and track the strength of cell responses in the brain by assessing the concentration of cerebral blood flow during cognitive tasks.

    During the book reading task all the volunteers, from both sides demonstrated high levels of brain activity in the regions of the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes, which control language, reading, memory, and visual abilities. However, internet searches showed a major variation between the two groups. The web-savvy group also activated the frontal, temporal, and cingulated areas of the brain. These areas control decision-making and complex reasoning.

  2. #2
    A similar story was posted earlier in the computer forum.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Imight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    I agree. I spend a lot of time just surfing for random information. Earlier I surfed around for Mossad and RAW collaborations, South Asian wars, and now I have the history of Santiago, Chile on my other tab.

    Sometimes I'd rather surf than read or watch TV. Something about the faster pace reception of random information works better for me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Agreed. I used to read books but I found that it's too difficult to read either from the bed or from my wheelchair (uncomfortable) and now I spend hours a day reading all sorts of random things on the internet. I think without the internet (or the computer in general) my brain would be like oatmeal for the lack of stimulation.

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