IS YOUR GPS BAD FOR YOUR MEN­TAL HEALTH?

Camper Trailer Australia - - NEWS - — David Cook

That GPS on the dash­board is shrink­ing your brain and po­ten­tially in­creas­ing your chances of Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

Re­search at McGill Univer­sity in Mon­treal, Canada has tied the loss of func­tion in the hip­pocam­pus to the on­set of de­men­tia and re­lated dis­eases, and it is the hip­pocam­pus that seems to form the re­la­tional mod­els in our brain’s di­rec­tional ca­pac­ity.

The hip­pocam­pus is a paired sausage-like or­gan in the cen­tre of the brain that forms our spa­tial nav­i­ga­tion and long term mem­ory, amongst other things.

Like much of the brain, it ap­pears that the hip­pocam­pus can ex­pand in size with use. Lon­don cab­bies, charged with learn­ing ‘The Knowl­edge’, or the name and lo­ca­tion of 25,000 streets in a city that has been voted the most dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate in the world, have a hip­pocam­pus that is much larger than av­er­age.

Re­searchers now be­lieve that much more widely than find­ing our way to an ob­scure ad­dress in Townsville or de­ter­min­ing the best route to tonight’s camp­site.

Sim­ply nav­i­gat­ing from the car to that de­sired ad­dress’ front door or get­ting back from our toi­let spot to the camp­site tonight re­quires the use of those very same nav­i­ga­tional skills, How­ever, it’s thought that the GPS is just part of a suite of mod­ern tools which re­duce the de­mand on our brains, with con­se­quent im­pacts on the on­set of de­men­tia.

The les­son, in the­ory as well as prac­tice, is to take a pa­per map with you as well as your GPS on your trav­els.

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