Despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on Alzheimer’s research, we still don’t have a complete understanding of how this devastating disease works. So, it may be decades before we have an Alzheimer’s cure, if one is in the future at all.

This lack of information can leave many older adults feeling out of control when it comes to their mental health. Without a plan, we feel helpless, and this can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Well, if you want to keep your brain healthy as you age, I have good news. While no single activity has been shown to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, many researchers agree that engaging in rigorous mental activities, like crossword puzzles, may help to keep your brain sharp.

Let’s look at some of the evidence. Then, I encourage you to check out our own Sixty and Me crossword puzzles.

What Does the Research Say About Crossword Puzzles and Alzheimer’s Prevention?

According to a UC Berkley study, engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as crossword puzzles, was associated with a lower accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque. In other words, the brains of mentally active participants looked younger.

In addition, according to Dr. Theresa Sumberac, who reviewed the available scientific literature on the connection between dementia prevention and mentally stimulating activities, “Leisure activities such as crossword puzzles, card games, and reading provide an avenue to stimulate the mind thus delaying the onset of dementia with relatively few negative consequences. These activities should be recommended to our healthy elderly patients.”

So, at the end of the day, are mentally stimulating games, including crossword puzzles, a silver-bullet when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention? Of course not!

Keeping Your Brain Healthy Requires an Integrated Approach

But, like exercise and healthy eating, they definitely won’t hurt your chances of maintaining a healthy brain. Besides… since when do you need an excuse to take a break?

I hope that this article gives you one more topic to bring up at your next doctor’s appointment. Hopefully he or she will be able to tell you what the latest research says on the topic of Alzheimer’s prevention.

If you feel inspired to play a word game now, why not try one of our Sixty and Me crossword puzzles? They’re totally free!

Do you like playing crossword puzzles? What else do you do to keep your brain healthy? Please join the conversation.

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