Crossword puzzles slow down memory loss in computer video games

Summary: Crossword puzzles enhance memory efficiency in older adults with dementia greater than computerized memory games.

A supply: Columbia University

A brand new examine by researchers from Columbia University and Duke University was revealed in the journal Evidence from NEJM means that crossword puzzles have benefits over computer video games for memory efficiency in older adults with delicate cognitive impairment.

In a randomized managed trial with DP Devanand, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Columbia, and Murali Doraiswamy, professor of psychiatry and drugs at Duke University, researchers discovered that individuals (common age 71) discovered to work on the Internet. primarily based crossword puzzles confirmed larger cognitive enchancment than these educated in cognitive video games.

“This is the primary examine to doc the short-term and long-term advantages of instructing crossword puzzles at dwelling in comparison with one other intervention,” stated Dr. Devanand, who oversees mind getting older and psychological well being analysis at Columbia. “The outcomes are essential due to the problem of demonstrating enchancment with interventions in delicate cognitive impairment.”

Crossword puzzles are extensively used however haven’t been studied in Alzheimer’s illness, together with delicate cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s illness.

For the examine, Columbia and Duke researchers at two separate websites assigned 107 individuals with delicate cognitive impairment (MCI) to 12 weeks of intensive coaching in crossword puzzles or cognitive games, adopted by as much as 78 weeks of booster periods. Both interventions have been delivered by way of a computerized platform with weekly compliance monitoring.

The most shocking conclusions of the take a look at:

  • Crossword puzzles have been superior to cognitive games on the ADAS-Cog main cognitive final result measure at each 12 weeks and 78 weeks. Crossword puzzles have been excessive on FAQ, a measure of each day efficiency, as much as 78 weeks.
  • Crosswords have been superior for individuals in the later levels of the illness, however each kinds of coaching have been equally efficient in the sooner levels.
  • Brain shrinkage (measured by MRI) was much less for crossword topics at 78 weeks.

“Benefits have been seen not solely in cognition, but additionally in actions of each day dwelling with indicators of mind shrinkage on MRI, suggesting that the consequences are clinically vital.” stated Devanand.

Crossword puzzles are extensively used however haven’t been studied in Alzheimer’s illness, together with delicate cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s illness. Image is in the general public area

The examine additionally highlights the significance of participation. Based on distant digital monitoring of computer use, individuals in later levels of impairment could also be higher engaged with extra acquainted crossword puzzles than with computerized cognitive games.

Two strengths of the trial are the 28% participation charge amongst racial and ethnic minority teams and the low dropout charge (15%) for such a prolonged dwelling trial. A limitation of the examine was the absence of a management group that didn’t obtain cognitive coaching.

Although these outcomes are very encouraging, the authors emphasize the necessity for replication in a bigger managed trial with an inactive management group.

“The trifecta of enhancing cognition, perform and neuroprotection is the Holy Grail for the sector,” stated Dr. Doraiswamy. “Further analysis on scaling mind coaching as an at-home digital remedy to delay Alzheimer’s ought to be a precedence for the sector.”

This is about memory analysis information

Author: Press service
A supply: Columbia University
The connection: Press Office – Columbia University
Photo: Image is in the general public area

See additionally

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Original analysis: Open entry.
“Mild Cognitive Impairment in Crossword Learning versus Computer Games” by Murali Doraiswamy et al. Evidence from NEJM


Crossword puzzle coaching versus computer games in delicate cognitive impairment

the background

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) will increase the danger of dementia. The effectiveness of cognitive coaching in sufferers with MCI is unclear.


In a two-site, single-blind, 78-week trial, individuals with MCI stratified by age, severity (early/late MCI), and website have been randomly assigned to 12 weeks of intensive, home-based, computerized coaching. Web-based cognitive games or Web-based crosswords adopted by six booster periods. In combined mannequin analyses, the first final result was change from baseline to a 70-point 11-item Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive (ADAS-Cog) rating, with increased scores indicating larger cognitive impairment at 78 weeks. base. Secondary outcomes included change from baseline in neuropsychological composite rating, University of California San Diego Performance-Based Skills Assessment (useful final result) rating, and Functional Activity Questionnaire (useful final result) rating at 78 weeks, adjusted to baseline. Changes in hippocampal quantity and cortical thickness have been assessed by magnetic resonance imaging.


Among 107 individuals (n=51 [games]; n=56 [crosswords]), the ADAS-Cog rating worsened barely for games and improved for crosswords at week 78 (least squares) [LS] imply distinction, −1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.83 – 0.06; P=0.04). From baseline to week 78, the imply ADAS-Cog rating worsened for games (from 9.53 to 9.93) and improved for crossword puzzles (from 9.59 to eight.61). The late MCI subgroup confirmed comparable outcomes (LS imply distinction, -2.45; SE, 0.89; 95% CI, -4.21 to -0.70). Among secondary outcomes, the Functional Activities Questionnaire rating worsened extra with games than with crosswords at week 78 (LS imply distinction, -1.08; 95% CI, -1.97 to -0.18). Other secondary outcomes confirmed no variations. Decreases in hippocampal quantity and cortical thickness have been larger for games than for crosswords (LS imply distinction, 34.07; SE, 17.12; 95% CI, 0.51 to 67.63 [hippocampal volume]; LS imply distinction, 0.02; SE, 0.01; 95% CI, 0.00 to 0.04 [cortical thickness]).


Computerized coaching with crossword puzzles at dwelling confirmed superior efficacy over games for the first final result of baseline-adjusted change in ADAS-Cog rating over 78 weeks. (Supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging; quantity, NCT03205709.)

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