Does Searching the Internet Help to Prevent the Cognitive Decline Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease

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Does searching the Internet help to prevent the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease? : An analysis of this popular media claim and Dr. Gary Small’s “Your Brain On Google” study Julieann Berg

New discoveries in the fields of Geriatric Psychiatry and Memory have made the neurodegenerative disease that is Alzheimer’s more transparent to those who may be at risk. The disease may not entirely be a result of our genetic predisposition (one in four Americans carry the ApoE4 gene that makes them susceptible to Alzheimer’s), rather, its appearance and development may be a result of biological and environmental factors, such as our physical and mental health, education, and physical, social and mental activity (Carper, 2011). A recent article published in the American Medical Technologists Events Journal by Jean Carper cited “Googling” as one of ten “surprisingly easy tactics” to preventing Alzheimer’s and age related memory loss. Carper’s claim suggested that searching the Internet stimulates an aging brain much more than reading a book does and was based on evidence from MRI brain scans of an elderly population that showed the activation of key learning and memory brain centers a result of Internet searching (Carper, 2011). One special condition of this cognitive impact was that it was only observed in older populations that have not had much prior exposure to Internet use. For this reason and the human brain’s plasticity, these people can engage a part of the brain in a new way and activate neural circuits that have never been used before (“Turned on, logged in,” 2013). The greater implication of Carper’s claim was that searching the Internet more frequently as one ages can help to delay a person’s risk of “losing [his/her] mind to Alzheimer’s” and ultimately, improve cognitive functions such as memory, decision-making, and critical reasoning (Carper, 2011).

The scientific basis for Carper’s claim was a landmark 2008 study entitled “Your Brain on...
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