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Woman Mentally Sharp Even at 115 Years Old  

Memory Tips You Can Use Today   

How to Increase your Brain Power and Stop Forgetting Things   

Social Ties May Delay Your Memory Loss   

Does Internet "Surfing" Energize Aging Minds 

Memory Protected By Good Cholesterol

Senior Moments: Staved off through education?

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Alzheimer's/Dementia Articles of Interest:

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Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes Page#2

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Dementia: What are the various different diagnosis?

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Does internet "surfing" energize aging minds?


A recent study by UCLA scientists reports that internet "surfing" by middle-aged and older adults triggers centers in the brain that control complex reasoning and decision-making.  The study claims that Web-searching activity stimulates--and possibly improves--brain functioning.

The study is the first to examine the impact of Internet searching on brain performance.  UCLA professor Dr. Gary Small, the study's principal investigator, says, "The study results are encouraging.  (Emerging) computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.  Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function."

Mind-stimulating activities--crossword puzzles, card games, and even common jigsaw puzzles--can stimulate and preserve seniors' brain health and cognitive ability.  Technology is a particularly attractive way to boost this kind of brain performance, and the UCLA study demonstrates that scientists are increasingly intrigued by the beneficial byproducts of computer usage, including the Internet. 

The UCLA study team worked with 24 neurologically normal research volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76.   Age, educational level and gender were similar between the two groups.  One-half of the study participants had used the Internet, while the other half had not. 

The results of Internet searching by the participants revealed a major difference between the groups.  Seniors with some Internet background registered brain activity in areas controlling decision-making and complex reasoning.  Indeed, the researchers discovered that the volunteers with previous experience registered a two-fold increase in brain activation as compared with those who had no Internet familiarity. 

The UCLA study revealed that the Internet's depth and variety of choices require users to make decisions about subjects to click on in order to discover more information.  This kind of activity engages certain important cognitive brain circuitry in a way that reading, for example, does not.  "A simple, everyday task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults, demonstrating that our brains are sensitive and can continue to learn as we grow older," UCLA's Small concludes.


"The study ought to comfort the 76 million members of the Baby Boom generation.  Studies have shown that the possibility of Alzheimer's and other dementia is the Boomers' greatest fear.  Knowing that their everyday Internet usage could delay--or even prevent--the onset of dementia should alleviate some of this concern," observes Kathleen Harmon, Chief Executive Officer of Great Places, Inc. , an Internet website that provides guidance for Baby Boomers who are increasingly responsible for their aging parents, including making decisions about moving into a senior housing setting from the family home. 

"Vastly more important are the ramifications of the study for the senior housing industry, Harmon suggests.  "If, in fact, the Internet can help the elderly continue to learn as they age, while at the same time stimulating their brain functions, why not outfit senior apartments, assisted living, and even nursing homes with broadband coverage?  And maybe there should be computer workstations in these senior projects where volunteers could teach residents how to 'surf' the Net.  The UCLA study convinces me that the Internet could revolutionize senior housing."

Article Source:

About the author:

Laurence Harmon writes for Great Places. For more information on senior apartments, assisted living, and even nursing homes go to Great Places!

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate                                      

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