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We all know that reading can take us places we’ve never been before.   It can teach us about the past, help us to improve ourselves, enable us to learn a language, and so much more.  Did you also know that it can boost your brain function? 

A study at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity of students over a nineteen day period.  The scientists obtained a baseline measure over the first five days, then had all participants read the same sections of the same novel–Pompeii, by Robert Harris–over the next nine evenings.  The results indicated increased brain activity starting the morning after the first reading session and continuing through five post-reading scans. 

Hot Reads logo
Hot Reads logo

So, what can you do to boost your brain power?  Read!  We have novels for those who like fiction, self-help books for those who want to change a specific aspect of their lives, repair manuals for home mechanics, biographies for those who like to read about other people; we have magazines, covering the same subject areas, for those who prefer more concise material; we have newspapers for those who want, well, news; and many databases covering nearly every subject available. 

Give your brain a little work out this winter.  While you’re at it, join Hot Reads for Cold Nights, the library’s adult winter reading program.  You will not only boost your brain function but also have fun earning raffle chances for fabulous prizes! 

Want more information?  To read the original research paper, click here.  This will take you to a .pdf file, which requires Adobe or an equivalent reader.  Alternatively, you can read an article on the study in The Independent

Thank you, Jennifer Armstrong, Friends of the Library president, for bringing this study to our attention.  

–Susan Hoppe, Adult and Reference Services Librarian

Original Study:  http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/brain.2013.0166

Article from Independent:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html