Bad news for real puzzle lovers?
Thinking too hard may actually damage the brains of some older people, it is claimed.
Engaging in activities such as doing crossword puzzles, reading and listening to the radio has long been thought to delay mental decline.
But new research shows that while at first they slow the decline of thinking skills, brain work-outs actually speed up the progress of dementia once it set in.
Study author Robert Wilson, of Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago said mentally stimulating activities may enhance the brain’s ability to function relatively normally despite the build-up of lesions associated with dementia. However, once diagnosed with dementia, people with a mentally active life are likely to have more negative brain changes than others.
Dr Wilson said, as a result, those with more mentally active lifestyles may experience a faster rate of decline once dementia begins.
He added: “This reduces the overall amount of time a person may suffer from dementia.”
Researchers evaluated 1,157 people aged 65 or older over 12 years – awarding each points for the mentally stimulating activities they engaged in.
They found the rate of mental decline in those without dementia was heavily reduced the more mentally-active they kept. But for those with Alzheimer’s, the rate of decline was heavily increased the more mentally-active they tried to be.
The research was published in American medical journal Neurology. (via Mirror.co.uk) Happy Puzzling!