Saturday, February 1, 2014
We posted on a report several years ago in which it was reported that a chess master had staved off the ill effects of full blown Alzheimer’s until essentially the last year of his life. It was clear that the brain had literally done work arounds to overcome the ongoing damage.
This present study nicely confirms the implied conjecture.
The take home us that whatever else you may do, take up brain exercises in the form of games once you feel the slightest reduction in function that may be related to aging. Do Sudoku, crosswords and other games of choice.
It will not cure Dementia and Alzheimer’s but exchanging a decade long debilitating decline for a one year rapid decline after ten years becomes very attractive and beneficial.
Crosswords could knock 10 years off brain and delay dementia
Training the brain with puzzles and crossword could delay the onset of cognitive decline in old age, keeping the mind of an 80-year-old as sharp of someone 10 years younger, researchers claim
By Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent
7:00AM GMT 14 Jan 2014
Crosswords and puzzles could knock 10 years off the age of the brains of older people and even delay dementia by keeping the mind sharp, researchers believe.
A 10 year study looking at the benefits of brain training found nearly three quarters of those who took displayed cognitive benefits a decade on.
Researchers said the findings were ‘pretty astounding’ and advised that pastimes like maths puzzles or crosswords can keep the mind ticking over like a 70-year-old when you get to 80.
Studies have long pointed towards the benefits of keeping the brain active later in life, but this is the first of its kind to show how a little training goes such a long way.
The US study involved 2,800 participants, the largest of its kind so far, and they had an average age of 74.
Participants were split into four groups: some received brain training focusing on processing speed, others on memory and others on reasoning ability.
A fourth group did not get any brain training.
All four groups were given 10 sessions lasting 60 to 70 minutes over five or six weeks and nothing else for the next decade.
The effects were measured at intervals over the next 10 years.
The findings showed that around 60 per cent of those who participated in the brain drills reported they had less difficulty with day-to-day activities such as shopping and handling their finances, compared to 49 per cent of those who did not have the training.
George Rebok, an expert on aging and a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and lead author, said: "What we found was pretty astounding.
"Ten years after the training, there was evidence the effects were durable for the reasoning and the speed training."
Study co-author Sharon Tennstedt, vice president of New England Research Institutes, said: ‘If these training interventions can have that kind of effect on preserving cognitive function, then there is potential for either delaying dementia or kind of attenuating it’.
Some 500,000 people in the UK are affected by Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.
Previous research has found a lower risk of Alzheimer's among people who frequently go to the theater, read or play games such as cards.
Going to a museum, dancing and playing a musical instrument had a positive effect, as did regular social interaction.
The latest study appeared appears in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society .