A few months ago, I reported on a brain study that shows that playing Tetris improves brain function and adds to brain mass. That is great news for adults, as it is commonly understood that brain growth and development slows down in adulthood. The Tetris study shows that, like our bodies, our brains can be exercised into good health.
A new study gives hope for helping elderly people regain memory capacity. Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI), researchers at UCLA found that using the Internet for research improves brain function in people between 55 and 78 years of age (other age groups are also likely to benefit, but the study used 24 volunteers in the given age group).
While this study is small, it shows conclusive evidence of increased brain activity in regions of the brain that control language, literacy, memory, and the ability to compute information sent from the eyes (ocular input). After test subjects used the Internet for research purposes for a total of seven hours over a two week period, FMRI scans also showed increased activity in the middle frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus. Researchers believe this is due to the need to separate text from ads on Web sites in order to find the necessary and relevant information. It might be time for nursing homes to get the computers out of the offices and into the hands of Alzheimer's patients.
The fact that video games and Internet research can make our brains healthier is good news for researchers working on brain implants. Researchers at Intel Corp. are working overtime to learn exactly how the human brain functions in the hopes of perfecting brain implants by 2020. The plan is to create brain implants that will allow humans to use various, daily computing devices without ever having to lift a finger. Ideally, I would be able to write this article using the text editor on my iPhone while walking my dogs. But will insurance pay for the implant?
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conducting science experiments at home. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Transylvania University, and has experience in copywriting for education, print, business, and the web. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via @HuTerra.