Harvard Health Letter

Protecting hearts, saving minds?

Cause and effect are hard to prove, but research suggests that taking care of your heart may help protect your brain.

In December 2006, findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association cast some doubt on whether the mental workouts from crossword puzzles, sudoku, and the like have long-term benefits for our brains. They may be fun, but a large, five-year study concluded that the sort of stimulation they provide probably does little to improve people's ability to manage the activities of daily life.

But there's better news on another front: Taking care of your heart — and the circulatory system in general — may help avert dementia in later life.

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