Navigation Links
Can Games, Puzzles Keep Aging Minds Sharp?
Date:7/14/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have bigger brains and sharper thinking skills than their peers, new research suggests.

The study looked at the connection between playing games such as puzzles, crosswords, cards and checkers and mental acuity for adults in their 50s and 60s.

Researchers found that people who played those games at least every other day performed better on tests of memory and other mental functions. And, based on MRI scans, they had greater tissue mass in brain areas involved in memory.

However, the chicken-or-egg question remains, said lead researcher Stephanie Schultz.

"The cause-and-effect here is unclear," said Schultz, a research specialist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dean Hartley, director of science initiatives for the Alzheimer's Association, agreed. "We don't know whether crosswords and puzzles will stave off dementia," he noted.

But, he said, the results fit in with a body of research suggesting that mental "exercise" might help delay the onset of dementia in some people.

Alzheimer's is marked by the buildup of abnormal protein deposits in the brain known as plaques and tangles. But researchers know that some people are able to keep up their day-to-day functioning despite those brain changes.

One theory, Hartley explained, is that people who are more educated, or engage in mentally stimulating activities, have a bigger "cognitive reserve" to draw upon when Alzheimer's-related brain changes begin.

If mental exercise is beneficial, is there something special about games -- as opposed to reading a good book? Hartley said it's possible: Games not only stimulate the mind, but can keep older adults socially active as well, he noted.

Schultz agreed. "Our findings suggest that cognitively stimulating activities -- games, in particular -- may be beneficial," she said. "Whether that's due to the cognitive stimulation or the social aspect, or both, is a good question."

The findings are based on 329 older adults who were free of dementia, but at increased risk of Alzheimer's. Three quarters of the study volunteers had a strong family history of Alzheimer's disease. Forty percent had a gene that's linked to the disease.

On average, the researchers found, study participants who said they played games at least every other day performed better on standard tests of memory and other mental abilities, compared to those who played games less often.

Schultz said future research should try to weed out whether certain games seem more promising than others -- and then put them to test. That means designing trials where older adults would actually be randomly assigned to take up mentally stimulating activities or not.

Hartley agreed that studies like those would be useful. But for now, he said, people can think of mental exercise as one part of a healthy lifestyle that might affect their dementia risk later.

He suggested people eat a healthy diet, get physical as well as mental exercise, and talk to their doctors about managing cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol.

"It's about how you manage your whole life," Hartley said.

Schultz was scheduled to present the findings Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Because the findings are being presented at a meeting, rather than published in a peer-reviewed journal, they should be viewed as preliminary.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more on cutting dementia risk.

SOURCES: Stephanie Schultz, B.S., research specialist, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Dean Hartley, Ph.D., director, science initiatives, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; July 14, 2014, presentation, Alzheimer's Association International Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark


'/>"/>
Copyright©2014 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Video games, social networks, chat rooms, may help prevent HIV
2. RKNet Studio Launched Online Website for Fun Games, Brain Training and Cognitive Skills Development
3. New study shows most youth football player concussions occur during games, not practice
4. Germs Fly in Roller-Derby Games, Study Finds
5. TruckGamesParking.com, a Popular Website of Free Motorbike Games, Announced its New Website
6. Fit Brains, online portfolio of cognitive games, reaches milestone of 75 million brain scores
7. Brain Falters Near End of Life, but Games, Puzzles Might Slow Decline
8. The Cosmetic Medic Announces Grand Opening of New Skin M.D., a Physician-Administered Anti-aging, Skincare, and Weight Loss Practice
9. 3D Imaging Market Worth $9.82 Billion By 2018 - Report by MarketsandMarkets
10. Study of noninvasive retinal imaging device presented at Alzheimers conference
11. Williams Rejuva Center Includes Innovative Computer Imaging
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® & Innovative Solutions ... initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, and opened its first ... is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air and surface purification ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... National recruitment firm Slone Partners is pleased to announce the ... as Vice President of North American Capital Sales at HTG Molecular . ... team in the commercialization of the HTG EdgeSeq system and associated reagents in North ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and other difficult to transfect cells, announces ... Medium. The PluriQ™ G9™ Gene Editing System is a complete system ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Finally, a bruise cream that ... dermaka cream can be incorporated into the post-surgical treatment plans of a variety of ... , dermaka cream is very effective for bruising and causes a rapid resolution of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... IL (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Beard, DDS, and Randall Markarian, DDS, are co-chairs for the Illinois State Dental ... clinic Friday-Saturday, July 15-16 at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  In a startling report released today, ... their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription ... definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst drug crisis ... four states – Kentucky , New ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three – ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... CAPR ), a biotechnology company focused on ... today announced that patient enrollment in its ongoing ... Duchenne) has exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. ... in the third quarter of 2016, and to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... on Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , ... Senior Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: