Using Google to search the Internet may help middle-aged and older adults keep their memories sharp.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
This should be of great interest to the millions of baby boomers and their children who are facing the possibility of Alzheimer's disease in their future.
A brain study conducted by Dr. Gary Small, a UCLA expert on aging, found that people who search the Internet using Google use more of their brain while engaging in this activity.
The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to record brain activity while people were searching the Internet.
This suggests that just searching on the Internet may train the brain -- that it may keep it active and healthy," said Small, whose research appears in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
The researchers found that the visual cortex -- the part of the brain that controls reading and language -- was activated while doing the internet searches. Here is an important finding of the study -- there was much greater brain activity in the Internet savvy group. Those who actively use the Internet.
Small said it appears that people who are familiar with the Internet can engage in a much deeper level of brain activity.
Researchers found that the brains of the Web-savvy group reflected about twice as much activity compared to the brains of those who were not Web-savvy.
"A simple, everyday task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults," Small said, "demonstrating that our brains are sensitive and can continue to learn as we grow older." Think this is wacky research? Dr. Small gives us a glimpse into the future based on his ongoing research:
According to Small, in the future, brain aging may be controlled similarly to high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Patients would receive a brain scan and perhaps a genetic test to predict their risk. Medications and other interventions could be prescribed, if necessary, to prevent or delay future neurodegeneration, allowing doctors to protect a healthy brain before extensive damage occurs. The brain scans may also prove helpful in tracking the effectiveness of treatments.
This kind of thinking really gets my attention. The possibility of trying to protect the brain from degenerating in much the same way as we protect the heart with drugs that lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Related Articles in the Alzheimer's Reading Room
5 Best Memory Tests for Alzheimer's and Dementia
Dementia Patients are People Too
Communicating in Alzheimer's World
What is Alzheimer's Disease?
The Last 25 Articles in the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Does the Combination of Aricept and Namenda Slow the Rate of Decline in Alzheimer's Patients
How to Listen to an Alzheimer's Patient
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room
"The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is what it claims to be – and more".
"The Alzheimer's Reading Room and Bob DeMarco are true treasures to Alzheimer's patients and their loved ones, especially their caregivers".
~ Rudy Tanzi, Harvard, Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world
"All of us in the Alzheimer’s community are fortunate that Bob has taken on this important work. At Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, we encourage people to follow the Alzheimer's Reading Room; and, we rely on it ourselves to stay up to date and in touch."
~ Tim Armour, President of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
"Without a doubt, you were the most sensational, inspirational speaker ever!
"Caregivers can relate to your message because it truly comes from your heart and your personal experience; and caregivers need to know that others have done it and survived."
~ Janet Steiner, Director, Brevard Alzheimer's Foundation
Why Do People Living with Alzheimer's Want to Go Home?
How to Understand the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's
How to Change Patterns of Behavior in Alzheimer's and Dementia Patients
Alzheimer's Patients Can Deceive Others to the Distress of Their Caregiver
How to Inspire a Dementia Patient to Shower (Podcast Health) Advocate
How to Listen to an Alzheimer's Patient (Support Podcast Health)