A team of scientists from the University of California found that searching the web stimulates brain cells, in particular the nerve centres that are responsible for decision-making and complex reasonings. They even claim that it might even help deter the effects of old age that causes dementia, such as a decrease in mass and the slowing down of cell activity, affecting mental performance.
Traditionally it was mental activities such as crossword puzzles and more recently, sudoku, that helped to minimise this impact. However, this latest study suggests that even surfing the web offers similar benefits.
Nintendo have already joined in on the act with their popular Doctor Kawashima's Brain Training series of games, available for their portable handheld games console, the Nintendo DS.
The latest study was based on 24 volunteers aged between 55 and 76. Half were experienced internet users, the rest were not, with each volunteer undergoing a brain scan whilst search the web and reading a book. Both activities displayed evidence that there was a significant increase in the regions of the brain that control reading, language, memory recall and visual recognition.
The researchers also stated that compared to regular reading, the internet's plethora of choices forced people to make decisions about what to click on, in order to find any related information.