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Scientists have figured out how GPS devices affect the human brain

At the annual meeting of the American Society for Neuroscience, researchers from McGill University announced the results of three studies whose aim was to establish the effect of positioning systems on the human brain. It turned out that the frequent use of GPS equipment causes the problems with spatial orientation and memory.

Professor of psychiatry at the University of Mental Health in Douglas Veronica Bobo together with scientists from McGill University found that users of GPS devices are at risk of damage of the brain area responsible for memory. During the research it was found out that people use a GPS system in two ways. Some need navigation systems to determine the exact location when searching for a specific destination. However, the vast majority of owners of GPS devices are moving on autopilot, using the electronic assistant prompts.

CT scan of the brain showed that when solving spatial problems strategically an activity in the brain - the hippocampusthat - controls memory and spatial perception is recorded. In the case where a person entirely relies on the Navigator, the hippocampus functions less actively. Scientists fear that the abuse of GPS equipment may cause atrophy of the hippocampus and lead to problems similar to Alzheimer's disease. At the same time, the researches were not able to specify whether a capable mental training for spatial orientation can lead to an increase in the hippocampus.

Experts strongly recommend that owners of GPS devices do not rely unreservedly on the browser and still from time to time use their own brains.

Digital cartography and GPS navigation 03-02-2011