Health / Lifehacks

Google Can Help You Appear Younger

Researchers proved that surfing the internet regularly helps the brain to stay sharp in language, memory, and reading; all of which are important to appearing younger. So instead of "wasting time" on the internet, you can think of it as your long-term goal for anti-aging. Surf the net to your heart's content! Just make sure you are still getting enough sleep.

The Internet is frequently blamed for messing with our minds, making us superficial, distracted and even deluded. But a new study suggests that for some people, using it could actually be healthy.

For a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Andre J. Xavier and his co-authors analyzed data on 6,442 people between ages 50 and 89. Several times over the course of eight years, the participants were asked if they used the Internet or email, and were given a word-recall test that measured their memory.

Those who said they didn't use the Internet or email did worse on the test over time, while those who did actually improved - the effect remained after the researchers took into account age and socioeconomic status. Even those subjects who had relatively low cognitive function at the beginning of the study - meaning they might already be experiencing age-related problems - performed better on the recall tests if they used the Internet than if they didn't. The authors write that it is "the first major study to show that being digitally literate can improve memory" and that countries that promote digital literacy "may expect lower incidence rates for dementia over the coming decades."

Mr. Xavier told Op-Talk that using the Internet and email might be beneficial because "our brains need to learn new things and interact with other brains." He explained, "our memory is not inside, it is between us, in our day-by-day life when we talk and see each other." And Internet use may be one way to maintain connections and forge new ones: "Digital literacy is about contact, new horizons, inclusion and humanization, so we start to be an active part of society again."

The news that the Internet might actually make people better at something may come as a surprise, since so many have warned of its dangers. One of the most famous warnings is Nicholas Carr's 2008 Atlantic cover story "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" Actually, it does not.

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