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Using the Internet to Fight Dementia

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]]>Dementia is a serious health concern]]> as women become older: the ]]>National Institutes of Health (NIH) ]]> notes that dementia is degenerative, so lost brain function cannot be recovered. Dementia patients experience deficits in language, memory, perception, and cognitive skills; changes in personality are another symptom of dementia. However, new research published in the ]]>American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry]]> suggests that using the Internet can help prevent dementia.

The research uses the idea that ]]>cognitive stimulation improves the brain’s ability ]]> and reduces deterioration, such as that from dementia. To prove this theory, the research in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry uses fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to track the brain’s activity. Participants in the study either read excerpts from a book, or surfed the web (reading content online). In participants who read the book passages, the fMRI data noted that brain activity occurred in the temporal lobe (memory), occipital lobe (visual), and parietal lobe (language). Participants who used the Internet had the same brain activation, except for people who were advanced users (compared to people who did not use the Internet). The advanced web users had additional brain activation in the temporal lobe, frontal lobe and cingulate cortex, areas of the brain involved in decision making and complex reasoning.

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