Older adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have bigger brains and sharper thinking skills than their peers, new research suggests.
The study looked at the connection between playing games such as puzzles, crosswords, cards and checkers and mental acuity for adults in their 50s and 60s.
Researchers found that people who played those games at least every other day performed better on tests of memory and other mental functions. And, based on MRI scans, they had greater tissue mass in brain areas involved in memory.
Stephanie Schultz, the lead researcher, said future research should try to weed out whether certain games seem more promising than others – and then put them to test. That means designing trials where older adults would actually be randomly assigned to take up mentally stimulating activities or not.
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