The secret to a healthier brain is a puzzling one.
A new study of 19,000 adults over 50 years old finds that older people who do daily number and word puzzles have sharper brains, according to the findings published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
The participants were asked how frequently they did puzzles like Sudoku or crosswords, and then completed a series of tests that examined their attention, reasoning and memory.
“The improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance,” says lead researcher Dr. Anne Corbett, of the University of Exeter Medical School. “In some areas the improvement was quite dramatic.”
Corbett says those who did puzzles frequently had a brain function of someone 10 years younger than their actual age when it came to grammatical reasoning, and eight years younger in the short-term memory department.