ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
Functional Foods Uncovered
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Add your Article

Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web

(HealthDay News) -- Surfing the Internet just might be a way to preserve your mental skills as you age.

Researchers found that older adults who started browsing the Web experienced improved brain function after only a few days.

"You can teach an old brain new technology tricks," said Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatry professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of iBrain. With people who had little Internet experience, "we found that after just a week of practice, there was a much greater extent of activity particularly in the areas of the brain that make decisions, the thinking brain -- which makes sense because, when you're searching online, you're making a lot of decisions," he said. "It's interactive."

Small is co-author of the research, which was scheduled to be presented Monday in Chicago at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

"This makes intuitive sense, that getting on the Internet and exploring and getting new information and learning would help," said Paul Sanberg, director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. "It supports the value of exploring the Internet for the elderly."

Most experts now advocate a "use-it-or-lose-it" approach to mental functioning.

"We found a number of years ago that people who engaged in cognitive activities had better functioning and perspective than those who did not," said Dr. Richard Lipton, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and director of the Einstein Aging Study. "Our study is often referenced as the crossword-puzzle study -- that doing puzzles, writing for pleasure, playing chess and engaging in a broader array of cognitive activities seem to protect against age-related decline in cognitive function and also dementia."

The new study takes the use-it-or-lose-it concept into the 21st century.

For the research, 24 neurologically normal adults, aged 55 to 78, were asked to surf the Internet while hooked up to an MRI machine. Before the study began, half the participants had used the Internet daily, and the other half had little experience with it.

After an initial MRI scan, the participants were instructed to do Internet searches for an hour on each of seven days in the next two weeks. They then returned to the clinic for more brain scans.

"At baseline, those with prior Internet experience showed a much greater extent of brain activation," Small said.

After at-home practice, however, those who had just been introduced to the Internet were catching up to those who were old hands, the study found.

"This is a demonstration that, over a relatively short period of time, patterns of brain activation while engaging in cognitive activities change," Lipton said. "That is at least a first step toward gaining insight into the mechanisms that might allow cognitive engagement to influence brain function."

But, Small said, beware how you use the Internet.

"You can exercise your mind by using the Internet, but it depends on how it's used," he explained. "If you get hooked on gambling or eBay shopping, that may not be positive."

SOURCES: Gary Small, M.D., professor, psychiatry, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles; Richard Lipton, M.D., professor, neurology and epidemiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor, neurosurgery, and director, University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa, Fla.; Oct. 19, 2009, presentation, Society for Neuroscience 2009 meeting, Chicago