ABSCESS   
ACID/ALKALI   
ACNE   
ADRENAL
AGE SPOTS   
AGING   
ALCOHOLISM   
ALLERGIES   
ALUMINIUM TOXICITY   
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE   
AMINO ACIDS   
AMOEBA   
ANEMIA   
ANOREXIA   
ANTHRAX   
ANTI-AGING   
ANXIETY   
APPENDICITIS   
ARTHRITIS   
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS   
ASPARTAME   
ASTHMA   
ATHEROSCLEROSIS   
ATHLETES FOOT   
ASTIGMATISM   
BACK PAIN   
BAD BREATH       
BED SORES   
BEE STINGS   
BELLS PALSY   
BLEPHARITIS   
BLOOD PRESSURE   
BODY ODORS   
BRAIN HEALTH   
BREAST CANCER   
BREAST PAIN   
BRONCHITIS   
BRUXISM   
BULIMIA   
BURNS   
BURSITIS   
CANCER   
CANDIDIASIS   
CANKER SORES   
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME   
CATARACT   
CELIAC DISEASES   
CHELATION THERAPY   
CHEMICAL ALLERGIES   
CHEMICAL POISONING   
CHICKEN POX   
CHLAMYDIA   
CHOLESTROL   
CHRONIC FATIGUE   
CHRONIC PAIN   
CIRCULATORY PROBLEMS   
CIRRHOSIS   
COLD SORES   
COLOR THERAPY   
COMMON COLDS   
CONCENTRATION   
COUGH   
CROHNS DISEASE   
CROUP   
CONSTIPATION   
CUSHING SYNDROME   
DANDRUFF   
DEHYDRATION   
DEMENTIA   
DENTAL HYGIENE   
DEPRESSION   
MENTAL DISORDERS   
DERMATITIS   
DIABETES   
DIARRHOEA   
DIGESTION   
DIVERTICULITIS   
ADDICTION   
DRY SKIN   
EFT   
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
EMPHYSEMA   
Endometriosis
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICITY
EPILEPSY   
EYE HEALTH   
FAINTING   
FAT BURNING   
FATTYFATTY ACIDS   LIVER   
FEVER   
FIBROMYALGIA   
FLU   
FRACTURES   
FRIGIDITY   
GALL BLADDER   
GANGRENE
GASTRITIS   
GLAUCOMA
GOUT   
GINGIVITIS
HAIR LOSS   
HANGOVER   
HAPPINESS   
HAY FEVER   
HEARING LOSS   
HEART DISEASE   
HEART ATTACK   
HEMOPHILIA   
HEMORRHOIDS   
HEPATITIS A   
HEPATITIS C
HIATAL HERNIA   
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE   
HIVES   
HOT FLUSHES
HUMAN PAPILOMA VIRUS
HYPERACIDITY   
HYPERHIDROSIS   
HYPERTHYROIDISM   
HYSTERECTOMY
IMMUNE SYSTEM   
IMPETIGO   
IMPOTENCE   
INDIGESTION
INFERTILITY
INCONTINENCE   
INSECT ALLERGY
INSECT BITES   
INSECT REPELLENTS
INSOMNIA   
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME   
JAUNDICE   
JOCK ITCH   
JOINT PAIN   
KIDNEY DISEASE
KIDNEY STONES
KNEE HEALTH   
LACTOSE INTOLERANCE   
LARYNGITIS
LAW OF ATTRACTION
LAZY EYE   
LEAD POISONING   
LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE   
LEG ULCERS   
LIBIDO   
LICE   
LIVER HEALTH   
LONGEVITY   
LUPUS   
LYME DISEASE   
MALABSORPTION SYNDROME   
MASSAGE   
MEAT TOXICITY   
MELANOMA   
MELATONIN   
MEMORY LOSS   
MENIERES SYNDROME   
MENINGITIS   
MENOPAUSE   
MEN’S HEALTH   
MERCURY TOOTH FILLINGS   
METABOLIC SYNDROME   
MIGRANE   
MICROWAVES   
MILK’S DISEASE   
MINERALS   
MISCARRIAGE   
MITRAL VALVE PROLAPSE   
MOLES   
MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE   
MOOD   
MOTION SICKNESS   
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS   
MUMPS   
NAIL PROBLEMS   
NAIL FUNGUS   
NARCOLEPSY   
NAUSEA   
NEURAL ACTIVITY   
NOSEBLEED   
NUTRITION DEFICIENCIES      
OBESITY   
OILY SKIN   
OSTEOARTHRITIS   
OSTEOPOROSIS   
OVARIAN CANCER   
PANCREATITIS   
PARASITE
PARKINSON’S DISEASE   
PERIODONTAL DISEASE   
PLANTAR FASCIITIS   
PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME   
PROSTATE cANCER    
PSORIASIS   
RABIES   
RAYNAUD’S DISEASE   
REYES SYNDROME   
RHEUMATIC FEVER   
RICKETS   
SCABIES   
SCHIZOPHRENIA   
SCIATICA   
SELENIUM   
SENSITIVE TEETH   
SHINGLES
SHIN SPLINTS
SIDS    
SINUSITIS   
SORE THROAT   
SUNBURN   
TENDINITIS   
TINNITUS   
TMJ SYNDROME   
TONSILITIS   
TRICHINOSIS   
ULCERATIVE COLITIS   
ULCERS   
UNDERWEIGHT   
URINARY TRACT INFECTION   
UTERINE FIBROIDS   
UVEITIS   
VAGINITIS   
VARICOSE VEINS   
VERTIGO   
VITILIGO   
WEIGHT LOSS   
WEST NILE VIRUS   
WHOOPING COUGH   

NEURAL ACTIVITY

Activity,  activity,  activity. Remaining active keeps our cardiovascular health in tip-top shape, our physical appearance aesthetically pleasing, and our mental acuity as sharp as a tack.

Outlets for mental exercises may seem limited but they’re actually quite extensive: from doing crossword puzzles, to playing a rousing game of chess, from completing a Sudoku puzzle to surfing the web.

That’s right - surfing the web! In fact, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, more activity goes on in the brain when surfing the web than when reading a book (there’s a small catch to this finding, which I’ll get into later)!

Researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior recruited 24 participants between the ages of 55 and 76, all of whom had no cognitive problems with respect to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Throughout the test, the participants read a number of book passages supplied by the researchers. Meanwhile they went through a battery of brain scans that recorded the amount of activity going on in the various lobes of their brains, like the parietal lobe, temporal lobe and occipital lobe. Among many other functions, these lobes control reading and comprehension.

In addition to the reading, the participants performed a series of internet-related tasks that required clicking on various links and performing key word searches in online search engines. As with the reading tasks, brain activity was measured with fMRI scans (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

What the researchers found was truly surprising…at least surprising to me. The fMRIs revealed that there was a greater amount of brain stimulation throughout the brain when the participants performed online tasks than when they read book passages. With reading, there was activity in the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes; with internet surfing, there was activity in the parietal, temporal and occipital, but there was also activity in parts of the brain that deal with reasoning and decision making.

Here’s where that catch comes in: The increased neural activity was seen only among those who had prior experience with internet use. Among those who were new to internet surfing, there was no increased activity in the decision making and reasoning areas of the brain, specifically the cingulate cortex and frontal lobe. With reading, the neural activity in the brains of experienced and inexperienced internet users was virtually identical.

The researchers are confident that the internet newbies will develop greater neural activity as their net know-how increases over time.

Study after study shows that mental activity significantly reduces the risk of dementia, by as much as 50 percent, in fact (according to a 2006 Australian study published in the journal Psychological Medicine). And when you think about it, the fact that internet use stimulates more neurons in the brain makes sense: with all the icons, pictures, moving images and panoply of words that pepper our computer screens and attract our eyes.

Granted, cruising the internet is not a physical activity and is certainly no salve for the nation’s sedentary lifestyle. But we all need some relaxation, particularly if we are engaging in regular physical activity. It’s nice to know that what’s ultimately a form of relaxation is also a mental activity…and a weapon against cognitive decline.

 

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