A few years ago, it was pretty much the norm to solve crosswords and Sudoku puzzles. In fact, our parent generation cultivated the habit plainly because it was the key ‘to get smarter.’ However recent studies have found no connection between solving puzzles and preventing mental decline or dementia, despite the boost in mental ability over a lifetime.
The misplaced good reputation these puzzles have had is due to previous studies claiming that mental ability can be maintained or improved by solving brain teasers. According to the study, playing musical instruments and board games is also linked to a reduced risk of dementia.But the study’s lack of historical childhood mental ability data proved to be its biggest limitation.
Dr. Roger Staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and his team decided to thoroughly examine the association between intellectual engagement and mental ability in later life. They also managed to use archives of the Scottish Council for Research in Education which had records of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1947.
The records belonged to 498 people who were all born in 1936 and had taken part in a group intelligence test at the age of 11. They were used as participants for the research.
After taking measuring different parameters to test mental activity and considering potentially influential factors, the researchers found that despite the heightened level of mental activity, it had no effect on the mental decline that comes with age.