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Care of the older person
‘Use it or lose it’: the relationship between the frequency of word puzzle use and cognitive function
  1. Karen Harrison-Dening
  1. Research & Publications, Dementia UK, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karen Harrison-Dening, Research & Publications, Dementia UK, London EC5 1RE, UK; Karen.Harrison-Dening{at}

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Commentary on: Brooker H, Wesnes KA, Ballard C, et al. An online investigation of the relationship between the frequency of word puzzle use and cognitive function in a large sample of older adults. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2019;34:921–31. doi: 10.1002/gps.5033.

Implications for practice and research

  • Psychosocial approaches to enhancing and reableing cognitive function are becoming increasingly useful in the everyday practice of nurses working with people with dementia.

  • There is a great benefit in conducting such longitudinal cohort studies, such as PROTECT (Platform for Research Online to investigate Genetics and Cognition in Ageing) and others, that allows for important subanalysis of data such as this, which add to the body of evidence in preventing or delaying dementia.


A degree of cognitive decline is common in ageing; however, it can also be a precursor to mild cognitive impairment and dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The population is ageing, so …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.