Jigsaw puzzles
Wednesday October 22nd 2014

Jigsaws Can Help With Problem Solving Skills

You know doing jigsaw puzzles is fun. But did you also know that puzzling develops logical thought processes and problem-solving skills. They improve your ability to

– analyze
– sequence
– reason

Doing jigsaw puzzles also improves hand-eye co-ordination and develops your sense of spatial arrangement.

According to a 2012 Cochrane Review the cognitive stimulation occurring while doing activities such as puzzles provides a beneficial effect on memory and thinking test scores.

Working on jigsaw puzzles has known benefits, according to the Houston Chronicle. It activates both halves of the brain.The left brain (analytic side), sees the separate pieces and how they might fit together logically.
The right brain (creative side,) sees the big picture and works through intuition. Exercising both sides of the brain enhances the connections between them.

Also, dopamine, a brain chemical that increases learning and memory, is produced when puzzle pieces are successfully fitted together.
Lifelong brain-stimulating habits linked to lower Alzheimer’s protein levels

A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, provides even more reason for people to read a book or do a puzzle, and to make such activities a lifetime habit.

Brain scans revealed that people with no symptoms of Alzheimer’s who engaged in cognitively stimulating activities throughout their lives had fewer deposits of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that is the hallmark of the disease.

While previous research has suggested that engaging in mentally stimulating activities – such as reading, writing and playing games – may help stave off Alzheimer’s later in life, this new study identifies the biological target at play. This discovery could guide future research into effective prevention strategies.

These findings point to a new way of thinking about how cognitive engagement throughout life affects the brain. Rather than simply providing resistance to Alzheimer’s, brain-stimulating activities may affect a primary pathological process in the disease. This suggests that cognitive therapies could have significant disease-modifying treatment benefits if applied early enough, before symptoms appear.

This is the first time cognitive activity level has been related to amyloid buildup in the brain.

A growing body of research supports the protective effects of late-life intellectual stimulation on incident dementia.

Recent research from both human and animal studies indicates that neural plasticity endures across the lifespan, and that cognitive stimulation in the environment is an important predictor of enhancement and maintenance of cognitive functioning, even in old age.

Moreover, sustained engagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been found to impact neural structure in both older humans and rodents.

There is also a sizable body of literature documenting that different types of cognitive training programs have large and durable effects on the cognitive functioning of older adults, even in advanced old age.

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