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Teaching an Old Brain New Tricks
Do's and don'ts for brain health

By Julie Davis
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 26, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- You might pride yourself on your ability to multitask. But research shows that brain health may suffer when multitasking involves many gadgets, such as surfing the web or playing a video game on your phone while you're also watching TV.

According to research published in the journal PLoS One, multitasking can change the structure of the brain, and not for the good.

MRI scans done on study participants who reported doing higher amounts of this so-called media multitasking revealed smaller gray matter density in the region of the brain most linked with higher reasoning and emotion. They performed worse on mentally challenging tasks and had more emotional difficulties in social situations.

Now for the good news. Other studies have shown that certain activities can increase gray matter density in the brain, including the behavior training technique called mindfulness meditation. It teaches you to focus on the here and now to conquer a wide variety of problems, from anxiety to overeating.

More than providing distraction or entertainment, certain video games, when played with undivided attention, can actually improve different skills. For instance, action games can enhance your ability to track multiple objects in a short time span, while matching and memory games can improve visual search tasks.

Even more impressive, learning a second language may help improve brain function regardless of how old you are when you start. Plus, it can be a lot of fun, especially if you travel to a foreign country to put it to use.

More information

To learn about the many benefits of learning another language for people of all ages, visit the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=723825

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Brain
Language
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Aptitude
Anxiety
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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