02/22/2013

Grandma gets brain boost from Facebook

NEWS

Of course, you'd rather not run into your grandma on Facebook. But as much as it might bother you, it could be doing her a lot of good.  A new study from the University of Arizona found that using Facebook provided a 25 percent cognitive boost to both men and women over the age of 65.

The study broke older adults – aged 68 to 91 – into three groups. The first group was given training in how to use Facebook and was encouraged to update at least once per day. The second group updated a private blog with short posts once per day, but without the social sharing. The third group did not participate in any online postings. At the end of the study, the Facebook group saw improvement in "mental updating" aspects of cognition, while the other groups saw no improvement.

The researchers tied these improvements to two different elements: learning a new skill and the social aspects of Facebook.. Learning how to use Facebook was essentially teaching a complex new skill, which is known to help keep the brain sharp. The research also indicated that the feelings of social connectedness also provided a benefit to the study participants.