Internet Surfing Better Than Reading for Brain Stimulation

Researchers at UCLA are publishing a study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that finds that middle-aged to older adults who know their way around the Internet had more stimulation of decision-making and complex reasoning areas of the brain than peers who were new to web surfing. Reading didn‰Ûªt stimulate the same number of brain areas as Internet searching.

24 adults from 55 to 78 years old underwent MRI scans while separately performing both activities, either a new Internet search or reading text on a computer screen that was formatted to look like a book.

While reading stimulated the same areas of the brain in both groups, those who regularly searched the Internet showed twice the increase in brain activity when performing the new Internet search than their counterparts, especially in the areas of the brain that control decision making and complex reasoning.

‰ÛÏThe study results are encouraging, that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults,‰Û says principal investigator Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and director of the campus‰Ûª Memory and Aging Research Center.

Far fewer boomers and seniors search the Web daily, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report, released in August, says 40% of people 50 to 64 years old and 27% of adults 65 and older are getting information online every day, compared to about 55% of those 18 to 49.

There is a myriad of information about the affects of stimulating the brain. It has been shown to ward off or delay dementia and Alzheimer’s. And in study after study of our eldest, keeping their brain active was one of the keys to a quality and long life. This study suggests that more of the brain is stimulated through searching.

So the holidays are coming. Start searching and comparing prices online!