ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
The Food Irradiation Story
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
FITNESS
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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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