Engage the brain! Like crossword puzzles, research is showing that using the Internet can help elderly people engage and stimulate key decision-making and reasoning centers of the brain. So surf away.
Surfing the Internet may be the latest way to teach an old dog new tricks. A study shows older adults who learn to use the Internet to search for information experience a surge of activity in key decision-making and reasoning centers of the brain. “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 researcher Gary Small, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, in a news release. As people get older, a variety of both structural and functional changes can occur in the brain that can reduce activity and impair function. Previous studies have shown that mental stimulation through brain training activities can increase the efficiency of cognitive processing and slow this decline in brain function. – From WebMD
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.
With various studies showing that activities which exercise the brain can enhance cognition, it would be good to see a study that identifies what exercise is the most effective and efficient.
A university study last year on Improving Fluid Intelligence by Training Working Memory (PNAS April 2008) recorded increases in mental agility (fluid intelligence) of more than 40% after 19 days of focused brain training. That’s hard to beat!