Online Activities Give Aging Brains a Boost

Alzheimer's and Memory Care, activities

Posted by: Andrea Fanz on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

The best exercise for your brain? Use it! A new study finds that knowing your way around the Internet and using digital tools may help you hang onto your memory and other cognitive skills – even improve them – as you age.

Using computers and the Internet will protect people who are 50 years or more from memory decline.  

The men and women were tested at the study start and then at four other points during the eight years. Each time, they were asked to remember a 10-word list for an extended period – a measure of cognitive functioning. The study subjects also reported how often they used the Internet and email.

Compared to non users, by the study’s end those who used the Internet and email had an improvement of three percent in their ability to recall the words. If three percent seems insignificant, remember that our cognitive abilities normally decline slowly for many years rather than improving. This is the first major study to show that being digitally literate can improve memory.  

How does it work? Experts think digital literacy may boost brain reserve, or the brain’s ability to resist damage. Computer use helps in other ways, too, especially if you keep widening your online horizons. New learnings create new connections in your brain. All activities in computers and the Internet have different effects. Mix it up. The best thing is to do many activities: browsing, games, social networking, online courses, film and music.  

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