A new 12-year study published in the online edition of the journal Neurology on September 1 explains puzzles, Sudoku and other brain teasers may keep you cognitively fit in the short-term but once dementia begins mental decline is swift and intense.

"Our results suggest that the benefit of delaying the initial signs of cognitive decline may come at the cost of more rapid dementia progression later on..." said Robert S. Wilson, PhD, a senior neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago and author of the study.

On August 27, Wilson told Relaxnews "we found that cognitively healthy older people who habitually engaged in cognitively stimulating activities (for example, reading books or magazines, visiting museums) experienced less cognitive decline than people who reported being less cognitively active."

And, Wilson encourages individuals to become avid readers opposed to loading up on brain teasers for greater mental wellbeing.

That being said, it appears that brain lesions associated with dementia continue to form and the mind can override them longer due to mental games and stimulation "...reduc[ing] the overall amount of time that a person may suffer from dementia."

According to MayoClinic.com, a respected health information site affiliated with the Minnesota, US-based Mayo Clinic and its health experts, there are a number of exams that you can take to determine if you are suffering from memory loss or dementia symptoms. To view the complete list go to: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dementia/DS01131/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis

If dementia runs in your family, one way to keep your family healthy longer is to spend more time at museums and reading opposed to watching television.

Full study, "Cognitive activity and the cognitive morbidity of Alzheimer's disease" to be available on September 1 at 8pm GMT: http://www.neurology.org/