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  1. ITV Report

A daily crossword 'can sharpen the brain', say scientists

Word puzzles such as a daily crossword can help sharpen the brain as people get older, according to London scientists.

Credit: ALZHEIMERS RESEARCH TRUST

A team from Kings College London and University of Exeter Medical School discovered that puzzles improve memory, attention, reasoning and regular problem solving.

Researchers studied data from over 17,000 people aged 50 and above asked how often they played word puzzles.

The team discovered that participants who regularly tackled word puzzles performed better at tasks assessing attention and memory.

We know that keeping an active mind can help to reduce decline in thinking skills.

This new research does reveal a link between word puzzles, like crosswords, and memory and thinking skills, but we can't say definitively that regular 'puzzling' improves these skills.

To be able to say for sure, the crucial next step is to test if there are benefits in people who take up word puzzles.

In the meantime our top tips to reduce the risk of developing dementia are keeping physically active, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy balanced diet.

– Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research of Alzheimer's Society

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