My dad did the crossword puzzle every day, and, I believe, Sudoku. He reached the age of 90 with his faculties intact. I’ve always credited those puzzles.
Something we’ve all instinctively known has now been proven by a research study. Doing puzzles will keep your brain sharp.
Scientists at the University of Exeter and King’s College London studied 19,000 people over the age of 50. The participants had to report how often they did word and number puzzles. Then they took cognitive tests to measure brain function. The more puzzles people did, the better they did on the tests in attention, reasoning, and memory.
The study concluded people who engage in word puzzles have brain function equivalent to ten years younger than their age on tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short term memory.
The scientists can’t say that playing these puzzles necessarily reduces the risk of dementia in later life, but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer.
The study is expanding into other countries and will extend for a period of 25 years using an online platform called PROTECT that allows follow up with participants annually.
I have never been interested in Sudoku and rarely do a crossword puzzle these days. Maybe I’d better invest in a puzzle book.
Do you do puzzles?