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Social networks 'keep brain active in older age'

Social networks 'keep brain active in older age'
21st February 2013

Older adults should be encouraged to use Facebook to keep their brain active, according to a new study.

Scientists from the University of Arizona discovered people over the age of 65 who use social networking sites performed 25 per cent better on cognitive ability tests than those who merely surf the internet or have no access to it.

The researchers believe the constant updates on the sites help to improve mental agility because they mean the content is ever-changing.

Participants were assessed and then asked to sign up and post at least one update on Facebook each day, before sitting the same cognitive ability tests eight weeks later.

Those who had engaged with the site performed better than a control group of people who had not signed up.

Lead researcher Janelle Wohltmann suggested it is the act of reading other people's updates that is significant, rather than creating them.

"You're seeing this new information coming in and you need to focus on the new information and get rid of the old information, or keep it in mind if you want to go back and reference it later," she explained.

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