Does Solving Crosswords Really Help Your Brain?

Does Solving Crosswords Really Help Your Brain?

Do your parents or grandparents keep a pot of coffee brewing all day? Do they spend the morning sipping a cup of coffee while working Jumble and the crossword puzzle in the newspaper?

“Just because there is no evidence that it works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. It just means that no one has paid for research to determine whether or not it works.” That was my response to one of the earliest subscribers to our newsletter. He is fond of crossword puzzles and was hopeful that solving them would help build cognitive reserve. At that point we hadn’t seen any research that indicated that word puzzles were useful.

Guess what: our subscriber and your family members are on to something. There now is research to support that individuals regularly working puzzles are building some serious brain strength.

Crossword Puzzles and Fast Brains

Here’s a quote from Professor Keith Wesnes at the University of Exeter Medical School: “We found direct relationships between the frequency of word puzzle use and the speed and accuracy of performance on nine cognitive tasks assessing a range of aspects of function including attention, reasoning and memory”. (Wesnes is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Exeter).  Researchers from Exeter and Kings College London analyzed data from over 17,000 individuals.  On some measures of reasoning speed and short-term memory accuracy, frequent puzzle solvers performed at levels 10 years younger than their actual age. Professor of Age-Related Diseases at Exeter  Clive Ballard noted: “We know that many of the factors involved in dementia are preventable.”  More on that research here.

Long-time readers will recognize “speed of processing” as an essential measure of brain health. While super-fast speed of processing is an attribute of the under-30-year-olds (in the new world of professional video game players- i.e. “E-Sports” -competitors retire in their twenties), the level of decline can be moderated by all the actions we continue to cover and discuss. You won’t always think as fast as a young Einstein, but you don’t have to accept slower thinking as inevitable either.

We Need Your Help!

One of our best-selling items is our sensory blankets, aka fidget blankets, fidget quilts, etc. That idea came from customer requests. Do you know of brain-building items we should carry? A game, educational toy or something else? Please let us know.

Shameless Plug

Take a look at our brain-challenging puzzles, educational games for children, and brain-testing board games. Go, pictured below, is easily learned, but one quickly learns the potential for very complex strategy. Have some fun while building that mega-power brain.

Coming attractions

Back-to-school is on the immediate horizon. We’re working on a guide full of brain-boosting activities for everyone from preschoolers to college kids. It also includes some other items that might be handy at high school or on a college campus. Working adults may find a few interesting things as well. Look for it very soon.

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www.BigBrain.Place . Everything you need to grow a bigger brain.