Seniors: Using the Computer Can Keep Your Mind Sharp

computer3Studies are finding that the mental stimulation you gain from using a computer might help boost your memory and slow cognitive decline.

Even just a few Internet searches help activate dormant brain cells. Researchers have found that searching online for an hour a day for seven days shows changes in brain activity on an MRI scan. Increased activity appears in the frontal lobes—the part of the brain that controls working memory and helps us solve problems.

A growing field of research suggests that engaging in mentally stimulating activities—including computer use—can lessen our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive impairment. Training your brain on the computer is like training your body in a gym. According to Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and co-author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, “Think about building brain muscle just as you build physical muscle. As you train, the effort goes down and the efficiency goes up.”

In addition, the principle of cross-training applies just as much to training the brain as it does to working out with our bodies. So when training your brain, you should engage in activities that work out different areas of the brain to keep the neurons well-oiled and flexible. Try playing games online, sending emails, surfing the Internet, etc.

Using the computer, especially in ways that are meaningful to you, is also a way to build robust social connections, which can have a positive effect on mental function. Learn how to use Skype and Facebook, for example, to connect with family and friends.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the cognitive skills of students of all ages in the metro Detroit area. Optiminds offers programs specifically tailored to help seniors take brain performance to new levels. Learn more about us by calling us at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Stewart at: And visit our website at to learn more about us


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