Web surfing increases brain activity of old people

According to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, older people exposed to Web surfing for the first time showed increased brain activity in regions associated with language and working memory.

Searching the Internet can be a totally exhausting experience as you bounce from one site to another, sometimes until you can't remember what you were looking for in the first place, but scientists at University of California, Los Angeles claimed that all that virtual running around is actually good exercise—for your brain, particularly if you are older because Internet training can enhance neural function.

The scientists worked with people between the ages of 55 and 78. At the start of the study, all the participants did some Web searching while the scientists monitored their brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging. The subjects who had had little exposure to the Internet before the study showed activity in brain regions involved in vision, language and reading, journal Scientific American reported.

Then everyone went home to do some surfing on their own—an hour a day for a total of a week. When the no-longer-naive subjects returned to the lab, their brain scans showed additional activity in regions associated with working memory and decision-making, it said.
The results were presented on Monday at the 2009 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago.

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