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Problem-solving games can boost mental ability over a lifetime

Study examines the truth of the ‘use it or lose it’ conjecture on cognitive ability
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Study examines the influence of the ‘use it or lose it’ conjecture on cognitive ability

‘Use it or lose it’ refers to the idea that cognitive function can be maintained in later life by engaging in intellectually stimulating activities. Although guidance on successful ageing highlights the importance of social and physical activity and engagement, analysis of the protective effects of regular engagement in cognitively challenging pursuits is difficult.

This study aimed to explore if intellectual engagement can offset cognitive decline. Intellectual engagement was assessed with self-completed questionnaires including questions about enjoyment of reading, problem-solving, abstract thinking and intellectual curiosity.

The participants, all born in 1936, were also given tests to assess memory and mental speed. The tests were first administered to participants at the age of 64 and then repeated on up to five occasions over the next 14 years. The


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