Those attempting to protect themselves against dementia should put down the crossword and go for a jog, leading researchers have advised.

Scientists said a growing body of evidence clearly demonstrates that cardio-vascular exercise can reduce the risk of dementia, but said there was no evidence yet to suggest that puzzles and mental arithmetic provide a protective effect.

Prof Clive Ballard, Professor of Age Related Disease at King’s College London, said many people instinctively believed that the best way to protect their brain was by exercising it with crosswords, puzzles such as Sudoku or commercial brain-training games.

But he said those who wanted the best chance of staving off dementia should opt for a run or a brisk walk rather than invest much hope in brain training and puzzles.

The scientist, until recently director of research for the Alzheimer’s Society, is leading a study investigating the long-term impact of brain training on older people.


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