Mentally stimulating games or doing puzzles and crosswords may help stave off Alzheimer's disease new research suggests.
These kinds of brain-stimulating activities could help to preserve vulnerable brain structures and cognitive functions the presented to the Alzheimer's Association International Conference said.
The researchers from Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute and the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center found people who reported playing games such as cards, crosswords or other puzzles, were more likely to have a greater brain volume in several regions involved in Alzheimer's disease.
They examined 329 people with an average age of 60 who were healthy but deemed to be at a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease due to their genetic background or family history.
But Alzheimer's Research UK said that while the study contributes to the "use it or lose it" debate, it does not confirm whether or not playing such games prevents the condition.
Dr Laura Phipps, science communications manager at the charity, said: "Observational studies like this are not able to pinpoint cause and effect, but they can be useful for identifying factors that may influence our risk of memory decline and dementia.