ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemicals in Carpets, Non-Stick Pans Tied to Thyroid Disease
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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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