Doing Internet Searches Boosts Older Brains

October 22, 2009

Slashdot Science Story | Doing Internet Searches Boosts Older Brains
Researchers have found signs of enhanced neural stimulation in parts of the brain that control decision-making and reasoning when they scanned the brains of middle-aged and older first-time Internet users after only seven days of performing Internet searches. We found that for older people with minimal experience, performing Internet searches for even a relatively short period of time can change brain activity patterns and enhance function, says Dr Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. At the start of the study, the participants performed Internet searches while the researchers took fMRI scans of their brains to track changes in blood flow in the brain and record subtle changes in neural activity. After practicing searching the Internet for 7 days over 2 weeks at home, the brains of the Internet novices showed activity in the same regions as before, but this time there was new activity in the middle frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus, the parts of the brain that are important for working memory and decision-making.

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