Stimulating the mind by doing puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku can slow the decline of thinking skills and delay the onset of dementia, according to a new study.
However, scientists at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago believe that these kinds of activities could speed up the progression of dementia when it does eventually develop.
More than 1,000 older people were observed in their daily lives, with researchers evaluating their mental activities over nearly 12 years.
It was found that people with Alzheimer's disease saw their rate of cognitive decline increase by 42 per cent when keeping the mind active.
Reacting to the news, the Alzheimer's Society head of research Dr Susanne Sorensen said that as far as dementia is concerned, the jury is still out on the role of mental stimulation.
"More research is now needed to establish why this happens and what role mental stimulation may have in keeping people functioning for longer," she said.
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