Google could increase the risk of dementia, an expert has warned.
Professor Frank Gunn-Moore, director of research for the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews, believes people ‘outsource [their] brain to the internet’ rather than using their memory to recall facts.
He adds people are performing a dementia ‘experiment’ on themselves as they increasingly rely on the internet for information rather than using their brains.
Professor Gunn-Moore added: ‘It’s an experiment the human race is running and we will have to wait and see if this outsourcing affects dementia prevalence.’
Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK, with one in 14 over 65s suffering from the condition.
‘We seem to outsource our brain to the internet’
Professor Gunn-Moore said: ‘It’s important to promote good brain health and to do that is to use it, but these days we seem to outsource our brain to the internet.
‘If we want to know something, we look it up online rather than trying to recall the information from our memory.
‘It’s an experiment the human race is running and we will have to wait and see if this outsourcing affects dementia prevalence.’
‘A risk factor for the heart is a risk factor for the brain’
Yet, despite Professor Gunn-Moore’s concerns, he adds hope is on the horizon for a dementia cure.
He said: ‘When I think back 10 years, the strides we have made are amazing.
‘The prevalence of dementia has started to drop but because more of us are living longer, the number continues to go up.
‘There is good evidence that if we live a healthy lifestyle we could get rid of a third of the cases, but we’ve known that about the heart too and we still see a rise in obesity, so it’s a social thing.
‘Simply put, anything that’s a risk factor for the heart is also a risk factor for the brain.’
Professor Gunn-Moore was speaking ahead of the annual Alzheimer Scotland Christmas event in Edinburgh on December 14.