Why books and brains are good together

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

reading books
Ask any avid reader – books are always better than movie adaptations!

We all know that reading is good for us, but did you know scientists have determined that our brain cells physically work better after diving into a novel?

For example, one study from Emory University took a group of students and had them read a novel titled Pompeii. Over the course of 19 days, the volunteers were asked to read a chapter every day, then placed in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine that scanned their brains.

According to the results of the study, there was a physical difference in the brain structure, as neurons (brain cells) became much more connected.

“Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity,” said Gregory Bern from Emory University. One of the most remarkable findings of the study was that these changes can last up to 5 days, and possibly even longer than that.

“It remains an open question for further study as to how lasting these effects are,” the study concludes. There is still a ton of research left to do, but remember this: reading really is brain power.

Featured image courtesy of Julia Spranger on Wikimedia. Image of glasses and book courtesy of Patrick Feller on Flickr.