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A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Oct 19, 2009

Web surfing for brain exercise

Here's the latest news that Net search stimulates mind more strongly than reading. The research study also revealed that web surfing can help slow dementia.

[Quote]

LONDON: Surfing the Web can help slow the effects of age-related mental declines that can end dementia by boosting the brain activity of the elderly, new research has found.

Using brain scans, a team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found thet using the Internet stimulated the mind more strongly than reading, with effects that continued long after an Internet session had ended, the Sunday Times of London reported.

"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," Dr Gary Small, a professor of neuroscience at UCLA, told the newspaper.

The researcher used a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging, which determines the parts of the brain that are the most and least active based on changes in blood flow.

The subjects were initially asked to conduct a series of Internet searches while their brains were scanned.

They were then instructed to go home and carry out specified online tasks for an hour a day at least seven times in the next two weeks. Then, they had a second brain scan, again while searching the Internet.

The impact began immediately, the researchers found.

The first scan demonstrated brain activity in regions controlling language, reading, memory and vision. But by the time of the second scan, the activated areas had spread to include the frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus, areas known to be important in working memory and decision-making.

The researchers believe Internet searching stimulates brain cells and pathways, making them more active.

"Searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults," said Dr Teena Moody, a co-author of the report.

Dr Moody told the the Times that Internet searching challenges the brain more than reading because people need to perform several tasks at once.

These tasks include remembering important information while simultaneously assessing the information on screen.

Dr Small said: "Our most striking finding was that Internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading."

The reasearchers argue that brains are similar to muscles - the more they are exercised, the healthier they become.

Activities like surfing the Internet, reading and socialising can thus slow or reverse normal age-related declines.

Other neuroscientists support the idea of exercising the brain but are sceptical about the benefits of spending too much time online.

[Unquote]

Source: The Straits Times, Monday, October 19, 2009

I hope this piece of comforting news may help to convince my contemporaries that the theory about web surfing and blogging as a form of brain exercise (I described it as "brain-oiling" in previous blogs) is an activity to prevent boredom.

A word of caution though. As with all human activities (brain exercise included), web surfing should be done with moderatation, as spending too much time on the web may also cause brain damage. I used to get "brain cramp" when I think too much. After some self-diagnosis, I have stopped thinking too much and the "brain cramp" miraculously disapppeared. Thank goodness!

Happy surfing and blogging...its good for keeping the brain active!

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4 Comments:

Blogger busstoped said...

It all Depends on which Sites you Surf. I think Watching you Tube Could Reverse the Process. Otherwise Good Info

October 20, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger unk Dicko said...

I cannot agree more with the main findings. Since I started blogging and "focussed googling", I find myself being sharper and with an even greater storehouse of knowledge..now not archived, but stored in my memory/mind.
However, all regular and prolong computer users must be careful with eyesight and vision.You need to take breaks, clean your eyes, execrcise them...to keep them in good shape.

October 25, 2009 at 2:19 AM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

I think Unk Dicko has always been sharp becos of he is active sportsman.

October 30, 2009 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

I agree, Chun See. When I first met unk Dicko in person, I was impressed by his friendliness, humility and sportsmanship. These are the qualities of a real sportsman.

October 31, 2009 at 7:00 PM  

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