Crossword puzzles benefit our brains


New ways to combat the aging rhythm of the human being are being discovered. Our aging facilitates the appearance of cognitive deficits and crosswords can help.

The truth is that, as a human being ages, there is a greater risk of developing deficiencies in areas related to cognitive function (for example the memory, reasoning, speech, among others). However, there are ways to try to counter this rate of aging. It was a study published this week that will prove it.

Researchers at the College of Medical Sciences at the University of Exeter and Kings College London in the United Kingdom, who analyzed about 17,000 healthy individuals aged 50 and older, were tested online. In this research, presented at the International Conference of the Alzheimer’s Association in 2017, the authors of the study asked how often respondents performed crossword puzzles.

The results of this research allowed us to understand that participants who performed crosswords on a regular basis were better at tasks related to attention, reasoning and memory. The study, one of the largest within the type, used cognitive testing systems to assess aspects of brain function.

“We found direct relationships between the frequency of jigsaw use and speed and accuracy of performance in nine cognitive tasks, where we assessed a variety of aspects such as attention, reasoning and memory”, explained Keith Wesnes, a professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Exeter.

Thus, through these results, researchers have been able to calculate that people with the habit of doing crossword puzzles have brain functions equivalent to people about 10 years younger in terms of grammatical reasoning and short-term memory.

PROTECT – is the name of one of the cognitive assessment systems, it is also a 10-year study with participants followed annually, all to allow a better understanding of the cognitive trajectories in their age group. Currently, more than 22,000 healthy people between the ages of 50 and 96 are registered in the PROTECT survey. The online platform allows researchers to conduct and control large-scale studies without the need for laboratory visits.

“We know that keeping an active mind can help reduce the decline in mental abilities”, said Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society. The next step will be a clinical trial to reinforce and determine if the achievements of these puzzles result in an improvement of cognitive function.