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Crosswords or video games: which is better for your brain?

03/11/2022

Crosswords or video games: which is better for your brain?

In our modern age where smartphones and apps are ubiquitous, so-called brain training games are all the rage. But people of a certain age will be much more familiar with the good old-fashioned crossword. Which is better for your brain when it comes to slowing cognitive decline? New research has provided some insights.


According to the study, led by Davangere Devanand, MD, a professor and director of geriatric psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, the humble crossword puzzle may actually be better for aging brains than new-fangled video games.


“This is the first study to document both short-term and longer-term benefits for home-based crossword puzzles training compared to another intervention,” said Devanand.


For the study, the researchers followed 107 adults aged 55 and over with mild cognitive impairment for 78 weeks. The participants were randomly given either crossword puzzles or brain-training games, and asked to do four 30-minute sessions weekly over three months. The participants were also asked to do a number of booster sessions up until the end of the study period.


The researchers found that the people in the crossword group showed a small improvement in tests of memory and other mental skills.


The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


*Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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