Do Crossword Puzzles Help With Alzheimers
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The Left Temporal Lobe: Your Brains Dictionary
Several landmark papers have examined where semantic memory is stored in the brain. In 1996, two related studies were published in an article in Nature.
For the first, the researchers enrolled over 100 patients with strokes and other brain lesions in their left temporal lobe. They asked these patients to name famous people, animals, and tools that were man-made objects. They found that the location of brain lesions affected recall. Patients with the most anterior lesions had the biggest difficulty naming persons. Patients with the most posterior lesions had the greatest difficulty naming tools. And those with lesions in between these areas had the most difficulty naming animals.In the second study the researchers had healthy adults name famous people, animals, and tools while undergoing a positron emission tomography scan that showed brain activity. As expected, naming people yielded the most anterior activity, tools the most posterior activity, and for animals the activity was in between.
They Can Strengthen Social Bonds
Completing a crossword puzzle on your own is impressive, but you should never feel bad if you need to ask for help. In fact, collaborating on a crossword puzzle is a great way to strengthen your relationships and make new friends. Plus, because crossword puzzles call on a wide variety of knowledge, people of many different ages and backgrounds can help with them. So the next time youre struggling with a clue, dont be afraid to ask the person next to you for help.
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Crossword Blog: The Truth About Crosswords And Dementia
There has been conflicting press coverage about research into whether crosswords help stave off dementia. Whats the truth and does it really matter?
Its official: crosswords are a waste of time.
A waste of time, that is, if youve ever justified your hobby by insisting that its insurance against dementia.
The notion of crosswords as a cerebral prophylactic has been around for years, despite the little problem of there being no research to back it up. Until recently, the only study that Id seen was from the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and it found no evidence …
… to suggest that amount of crossword puzzle experience reduces age-related decreases in fluid cognition or enhances age-related increases in crystallized cognition.
In plainer language, puzzles dont help us to remember the words we need to fill in the blank squares, or to reason our way through cryptic clues wordplay.
Last week, newspapers reported a new study, with headlines variously stating and denying an effect of crossword-solving on Alzheimers disease . As is often the way, the title of the original paper Effect of Intellectual Enrichment on AD Biomarker Trajectories Longitudinal Imaging Study does not, in fact, mention crosswords.
And, well, nor does the paper itself. Crosswords seem to have appeared somewhere between publication and press release. But if we take crosswords as journalistic shorthand for using your noddle, there is something of interest hiding in the coverage.
Great Brain Exercises To Try
Each brain exercise targets a different part of your cognition, says Dr. Tan, making the analogy to different kinds of exercise. If I run on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day, I wont necessarily improve my core like I would from doing pilates. To be physically fit, I have to do a couple of different kinds of exercise. The same is true for brain exercises.
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This Is Your Brain On Crosswords
Those black-and-white squares can help us understand how memory works
Let me tell you a tale of two grandfathers, Irv and Murray. For decades, Irv, an introverted, quiet, retired bartender and former military engineer, had the same morning routine: coffee and cream a roll and the puzzle page of the Press of Atlantic City. He methodically and religiously worked his way through each one, from the crossword to the jumble to the cryptoquip, a substitution cipher that asks solvers to decode clues and figure out the pun.
Extroverted and spontaneous Murray, a successful businessman and local politician, also had his morning routine: coffee with lots of sugar oatmeal and tinkering on one of his many writing projects, such as a loosely autobiographical musical about a traveling salesman. Murray swam a few times a week, devoured books and loved to travel. But he never did crosswords.
Irv died at age 94, and he barely experienced any cognitive loss before the last six months of his life, when he exhibited rapid mental decline. Murray lived to be 91, but the last several years of his life were marked with severe dementia.
Indeed, the more I researched, the more I realized that the story about crosswords and dementia could be told in either direction, and in equally compelling ways. Media coverage about the crossword and dementia is completely black and white: crosswords are either the brains secret weapon or theyre a gigantic waste of time.
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Solving The Puzzles Of Business And Life
Statistician Jonathan Berkowitz got hooked on Scrabble as a kid and still loves puzzles so much that he wrote a book on the benefits of puzzles. Now a statistics lecturer at UBCs Sauder School of Business, Dr. Berkowitz has also taught a course at Sauder for executives that focuses on puzzles and problem-solving for business decision-making.
Business at its core is about problem solving, Dr. Berkowitz points out. If you stop looking for new possibilities, you become rigid in your thinking.
Doing puzzles, he says, helps you to step back and take a fresh look at the problem and ways of viewing it in the context of the situation. We say in statistics if there is only one way to interpret the data then its probably wrong.
Puzzles also help you makes sense of patterns and thus make sense of the world around us. Humans are a pattern seeking species, Dr. Berkowitz says. We cant stand things that are random.
Dr. Hsiung confirms that puzzles can indeed help with developing problem-solving skills by stimulating the brains frontal lobe, which is used to make decisions. You learn from past history and experience and look at patterns to help predict what will happen in the future.
Berkowitz points to myriad other puzzle-solving skills that can be applied in everyday life. These include concentration, parsing information, finding creative ways to work within defined constraints, and exercising lateral thinking.
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Surprising Benefits Of Crossword Puzzles For Older Adults
Have you ever noticed how the simplest activities can bring you the most pleasure?
Take crossword puzzles, for example. There is something so relaxing about sitting down with a cup of steaming-hot tea to fill in the Sunday crossword puzzle in the newspaper. And, if a biscuit or two happen to escape from their tin and into your mouth, so much the better! After all, when it comes to enjoying simple pleasures, there are no rules!
Well, if you love crossword puzzles, I have good news for you. Your favorite word game isnt only fun it is also great for your mind, body and spirit.
If on the other hand you havent made crossword puzzles a part of your weekly routine, I hope to give you a few reasons to consider doing so here.
Here are 4 surprising benefits of crossword puzzles for older adults.
When youre ready to start your next word adventure, please try our Sixty and Me free online crossword puzzles.
Are Crosswords Good For The Brain
Crossword puzzles are good for your brain because they help improve your memory and reasoning skills. The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times puzzles are staples when people envision the icon of daily crossword puzzling.
A joint 2017 study by Kingâs College London and the University of Exeter Medical School suggests people who play crossword puzzles are more likely to have a sharper brain in later life.
The researchers stated that their findings reveal a link between word puzzles, like crosswords, and memory and thinking skills, but we cant say definitively that regular puzzling improves these skills.
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Why Are Puzzles Good For Dementia Patients
Jigsaw puzzles are ideal for patients with Dementia and Alzheimers. While puzzles are therapeutic, they also provide exercise in memory and are said to improve brain functions, especially short-term memory.
In any stage of Dementia or Alzheimer’s, puzzles are said to ease some of the symptoms and provide stimulating comfort to the patients, as well as provide a sense of control. Puzzles, especially custom photo puzzles, can reawaken memories in patients and improve mental speed and thought processes. Further, puzzles are thought to decrease mental decline and cognitive functioning. But mental processes are not the only way that puzzles help Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
Jigsaw Puzzles help to stimulate the brain and also provide a social activity that can help connect the patient to caregivers and loved ones while helping to create a positive emotional connection. Many dementia patients lose interest in activities easily and jigsaw puzzles can help stabilize this decline. After all, who can pass a puzzle in the works and not try to help?
Keeping Your Brain Active: 10 Tips For Improving Your Brain
The other day I was listening to an interview on National Public Radio with Dean Oshler who has just written a book called From Square One: A Meditation, with Digressions, on Crosswords. During the interview I was surprised to hear Mr. Oshler challenge the widely held belief that regularly doing crossword puzzles is good for your brain fitness and can help stave off Alzheimerâs disease. Oshlerâs problem with crossword solving is twofold: first, he believes the clinical data showing an advantage for puzzlers is both weak and only observational second, we need variety in our mental exercise
I donât think Oshler and Wilson are that far apart actually. Oshler is just emphasizing variety in mental exercise. He went on to say that perhaps one should take up something like crosswords for a year or so and then do something completely different like learning a foreign language. His concern is to avoid falling into a mental rut always doing the same type of crossword puzzles edited by the same person, over and over again. New and varied mental challenges are key in his opinion.
â1. Take up video-gaming. Action video games improve eye-hand coordination, improve spatial visualization skills, and increase the number of things that you can visually attend to simultaneously.
2. Strengthen your memory. Memory is our most vital mental faculty. Strengthening memory is an important component in lessening the odds of developing Alzheimerâs disease.
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Trouble With Crossword Puzzles Improve Your Semantic Memory
- By Andrew E. Budson, MD, Contributor
Can you distinguish the taste of a red wine versus a rosé? How about the look of a 1960s muscle car versus a foreign import? Do you prefer to grow lilies or tulips? Would you rather listen to Dark Side of the Moon or Fly Me to the Moon? To answer any of these questions, you need to use your semantic memory.
Your semantic memory is your store of factual knowledge of the world and the meaning of words. Its how you know that a fork is for eating and what color a lion is. Its both the source of your vocabulary and how you know what something does even if you dont know the name of it like that little bit of plastic that covers the end of a shoelace .
Semantic Memory Does Not Decline In Aging
Can improving your semantic memory help you do a crossword puzzle? Yes. Not only does semantic memory store the meaning of words as well as nonverbal concepts, it also stores the relationships within and between words and concepts. For example, your semantic memory of the band Pink Floyd may be linked to the President of the United States in the following way: Pink Floyds album Dark Side of the Moon may be connected in your semantic memory to moon landings, which is then connected to astronauts, to John Glenn, to senators, to politicians, and to presidents.
Lastly, a bit of good news: research suggests semantic memory does not decline in normal aging. As you continue to learn new information throughout your life, your vocabulary and your ability to solve crossword puzzles may actually improve with age.
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Will Brain Training Prevent Dementia
Some studies have found that cognitive training can improve some aspects of memory and thinking, particularly for people who are middle-aged or older.
So far, no studies have shown that brain training prevents dementia. However, this is a relatively new area of research and most studies have been too small and too short to test any effect of brain training on the development of cognitive decline or dementia.
Evidence suggests that brain training may help older people to manage their daily tasks better, but longer term studies are needed to understand what effect, if any, these activities may have on a persons likelihood of developing dementia.
Do Crossword Puzzles Really Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
Yesterday morning I arrived to visit Angela, one of the three ladies with Alzheimer’s I volunteer to visit each week. I found her sitting at her beautiful, ornate dining room table, which was overflowing with books and art supplies. Dressed in a pale pink sweat suit, she was deeply absorbed in a crossword puzzle, which she was filling in with her ever so pale handwriting.
I often find her engaged in this activity. I don’t know if she works the puzzles because it’s something she’s always enjoyed or if a friend or family member encourages her to do them to keep her brain active.
Hundreds of articles have mentioned that keeping the brain active, including working crossword puzzles, playing cards or learning new things, can help ward off Alzheimer’s or slow it’s decline in a person who already has the illness.
For example, there’s a brief entry about this topic on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website. It says, “Research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells.”
The entry continues by saying that people with a higher level of education appear to be protected against Alzheimer’s, concluding that “people who keep their minds active throughout their lives have lower amounts of a protein that forms the beta amyloid plaques, which are a hallmark of the disease.”
Springbok 100 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Take Flight
Who doesnt love seeing hot air balloons floating in the sky? Sure to bring a smile to your seniors face, this 100 piece jigsaw puzzle from Springbok is made in the USA.
Designed especially for adults with Alzheimers and dementia, it features sustainably sourced organic, non-toxic soy-based inks & utilizes 100% recycled puzzle board materials. The high quality puzzle pieces are made from thick cut 75 point board, which is 18% thicker than the industry average.
The finished size is 23.5 inches by 18 inches.
Crossword Puzzles Focuses On Therapeutic Meditation
Puzzles solved with dedicated concentration activate both left and right hemispheres of our brains and help us to relax emotionally.
It encourages an intellectual state of mind that allows for therapeutic meditation. This mediation helps in experiencing a state of calmness and satisfaction
This form of meditation directs to accomplish an enhanced outlook and serenity. It also enhances productivity and self-confidence levels.
We can very well conclude that crossword puzzle games are of great benefit for the elderly brains.
Are you an elderly who is waiting for a brainstorming puzzle game?
So, what are you waiting for? Find your favorite free daily crossword puzzle and start solving it right now!
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Does Doing Crosswords Stave Off Alzheimers Disease
Arthur Wynne created the first crossword puzzle in 1913. It was published in the Sunday edition of the New York World and called a Word-Cross puzzle. It was only due to a typesetting error that it was later changed to Cross-Word. Wynne would no doubt be amazed that crosswords became so popular that they have contributed to the sale of newspapers, magazines, etc for decades. Today we can solve crosswords online and computers are often used to generate them. Besides those who do crosswords for pure entertainment, many people believe that doing them helps to keep their brains young.
How Do Puzzles Help Dementia Patients
How to choose the correct puzzle for an Alzheimer and Dementia Patient.
Not all puzzles are equal and not all patients are in the same category when it comes to selecting the proper puzzle to use. Here are some considerations to use when selecting a puzzle for your loved one with Dementia.
In closing, choosing an engaging activity that involves the use of jigsaw puzzles is fun and therapeutic. Coming up with activities isn’t always easy and using Jigsaw Puzzles can provide a great therapy session for those who have Alzheimers or Dementia.
Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen
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