Brain exercise works: crossword puzzles stave off Alzheimer's

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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Intellectually stimulating activity is known to have the potential to stave off Alzheimer's and other brain diseases, and crossword puzzles in particular are well-suited to this purpose, as they involve a daily burst of sustained mental activity. Studies have found that older people who regularly flex their brains almost halved the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

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Any intellectually stimulating activity can potentially stave off brain disease but crosswords are particularly well suited to maintaining mental agility --- to complete them requires daily, sustained bursts of cognitive effort. The activity features almost universally in checklists of how to ward off neural decline, and is even a component of an experimental "brain boot camp" developed by experts on ageing at the University of California. Those who flexed their brains most regularly almost halved their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. While physical exercise did not seem to delay the onset of Alzheimer's, intellectual exercise did. Those who did four crossword puzzles a week were less likely to develop the disease than those who managed only one. Other protective activities included chess, draughts, card and board games, museum visits, reading, playing a musical instrument and ballroom dancing (the last two require a good working memory and a degree of co-ordination). It is unclear, though, how regular brain workouts are able to postpone Alzheimer's; this is now the subject of ongoing research. The absence of an obvious biological mechanism has inspired worries that the link between mental exercise and delayed Alzheimer's onset is fictitious. This means that even among people who left education early, the ones who enjoy puzzles, play games and stay mentally active still enjoy a lower risk of Alzheimer's. This strengthens the theory that using your brain regularly really does sharpen and protect it.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, and he has published numerous courses on preparedness and survival, including financial preparedness, emergency food supplies, urban survival and tactical self-defense. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2010, Adams launched, a natural health video site featuring videos on holistic health and green living. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products ( and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and martial arts training. He's also author a large number of health books offered by Truth Publishing and is the creator of numerous reference website including and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. His websites also include the free reference sites and Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the innate healing ability of the human body. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at

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