Many people play crossword puzzles, believing that they improve brain health. Is this accurate? There has been quite a lot of research surrounding the question, dating back more than twenty years. The verdict? The jury is still out.
Scientific Studies Provide Conflicting Information
You may think that something as simple as a crossword puzzle doesn’t warrant much scientific research. However, the medical community has been on the hunt for prevention methods and potential reversal techniques to age-related cognitive decline for decades.
Many current chronic brain diseases that affect mental capacity are not curable as of yet. Doctors are digging as deep as they can to provide solutions for families and patients. Many studies have been conducted to see if crossword puzzles can help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s and dementia. They have shown conflicting results.
Studies That Love Crossword Puzzles
The Bronx Aging Study followed nearly 500 individuals who were not yet diagnosed with the cognitive disease to see if crossword puzzles improved brain health. They found that those who actively used crossword puzzles delayed the onset of the disease by an average of 2.54 years.
Studies That Disagree with Crossword Puzzles
Other studies have shown no significant impact on delayed onset or treatment of cognitive decline. One particular study, almost identical to the Bronx Aging Study, found that completing puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku puzzles did not affect either cognitive decline or cognitive function.
Are There Any Brain Benefits of Crossword Puzzles?
Though there is endless research on crossword puzzles and brain health, is there an answer to the question? Not yet. However, just because crossword puzzles can’t treat disease, doesn’t mean that there are no benefits at all.
Some benefits of crossword puzzles for your brain include:
- Cognitively challenging yourself
- Improving your vocabulary and spelling
- Improving your mood and relaxation
- Providing a sense of achievement
- Improving concentration and focus
- Alleviating feelings of boredom
- Motivating to finish a task
Crosswords for Brain Health: Yes or No?
If you’re hoping to use crossword puzzles to delay the onset or progression of cognitive decline, you may not get the results you’re looking for. Doctors and scientists have not yet found definitive proof that they can do this.
However, if you’re looking to benefit your brain in other ways, crosswords are a great way to help you on a short-term, daily basis. Just because they can’t solve complex medical issues doesn’t mean that there aren’t other benefits.
You can even play them with kids, turning them into quality time well-spent, and helping them to ace that next spelling bee.
Other Forms of Brain Training
If you’re looking to promote brain health and train your brain in different ways, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a variety of brain training activities for everyone. Some good ones to check out include mobile apps so you can train your brain on-the-go, and other daily exercises to keep your mind healthy.