Association of crossword puzzle participation with memory decline in persons who develop dementia

Jagan A. Pillai, Charles B. Hall, Dennis W. Dickson, Herman Buschke, Richard B. Lipton, Joe Verghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Participation in cognitively stimulating leisure activities such as crossword puzzles may delay onset of the memory decline in the preclinical stages of dementia, possibly via its effect on improving cognitive reserve. We followed 488 initially cognitively intact community residing individuals with clinical and cognitive assessments every 12-18 months in the Bronx Aging Study. We assessed the influence of crossword puzzle participation on the onset of accelerated memory decline as measured by the Buschke Selective Reminding Test in 101 individuals who developed incident dementia using a change point model. Crossword puzzle participation at baseline delayed onset of accelerated memory decline by 2.54 years. Inclusion of education or participation in other cognitively stimulating activities did not significantly add to the fit of the model beyond the effect of puzzles. Our findings show that late life crossword puzzle participation, independent of education, was associated with delayed onset of memory decline in persons who developed dementia. Given the wide availability and accessibility of crossword puzzles, their role in preventing cognitive decline should be validated in future clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1013
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Keywords

  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • Elderly
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychology
  • Puzzles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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