Surfing the Internet could lower the risk of cognitive decline, for a new study suggests that searching the web could be a boost to the brain.
The new study, to be published in the ‘American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry’, showed that surfing the Internet could be a boost for the brain, particularly for the middle-aged and older adults.
“Our most striking finding was that Internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading but only in those with prior Internet experience,” said study leader Gary Small of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
Earlier studies have linked pursuing activities that keep the mind engaged, such as crossword puzzles and memory games, and a lowered risk of cognitive decline later in life.
“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,” Small was quoted as saying by Live Science online.
The research looked at the brain activity of 24 volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76 as they surfed the Internet. All the participants showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task, specifically in the temporal, parietal and occipital lobes of the brain, which are involved in controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities.
But Internet searches revealed differences between the two groups. While all the participants showed the same activity as during the book-reading, the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, whereas those new to the net did not. These areas of the brain control decision-making and complex reasoning.