Internet geeks would love to believe that their online behaviors actually stimulate the brain for the better. It turns out this notion may be a reality, at least according to a FOXNews story that recently surfaced.
Yesterday, findings from a UCLA study on internet behavior and brain activity were presented at the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago.
The study, which involved fMRI scans on 24 neurologically normal volunteers ages 55 ??? 78, showed that the portion of the group that had very little internet experience were able to change their brain activity patterns and increase function after just 7 days of one hour sessions searching the web.
Participants consisted of two test groups, those who used the Internet daily, and those that did not. Both groups under went initial brain scans while searching the web to track ???brain activity by measuring the level of blood flow in the brain during cognitive tasks.???
Ultimately, those in the less internet savvy group demonstrated that the regular web searches activated brain patterns similar to those in the savvier internet user group. The original author of the study, Teena D. Moody, concluded, ???The results suggest that searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults.???
From the report:
???The first scan of participants with little Internet experience showed brain activity in the regions controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities. The second brain scan of these participants, conducted after the home practice searches, demonstrated activation of these same regions, but there was also activity in the middle frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus ??? areas of the brain known to be important in working memory and decision-making.
Thus, after Internet training at home, participants with minimal online experience displayed brain activation patterns very similar to those seen in the group of savvy Internet users.???
While the findings are only applicable to older adults, follow up studies on young adults are expected to determine if the same correlation holds true. The eventual goal is to ???identify aspects of online searching that generate the greatest levels of brain activation.???