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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The ... to promote standards of excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the ... – 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... QUEENS, N.Y (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... recently became a member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special ... constantly changing laws and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is ... vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds ... by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Abilene, Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... publication this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books ... seems like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: ... faced every danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From ... Carole is a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised to ... the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users ... and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner ... 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy ... ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... NEW YORK , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: ... data solutions, today announced that its MyDario product is expected to appear ... listings for when The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The ... ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort moves ... (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) medical ... device industry is in an odd place.  The industry ... excise tax on medical device sales passed along with ... patients, increased visits and hospital customers with the funding ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: