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Feeling Anxious? Do a Crossword Puzzle

If you're feeling anxious during these troubling, economic times, try doing a crossword puzzle. This is Science Today. For the first time, a brain imaging study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley has found that brain-sharpening activities such as crossword puzzles, can reduce anxiety by activating the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is involved with logical reasoning and concentration.

Bishop:           I think there's been a tendency when we think about anxiety to think about emotion and to focus our research on emotional tasks. I think this is really now challenging us to kind of go back to cognition and to really think more about focusing in on some attentional paradigms as well.

Narrator:        Psychologist Sonia Bishop, who led the study, says that's not to say patients with anxiety should stop taking their meds ...

Bishop:           This really isn't meant to be a therapeutic approach, it's really beginning to try to attempt to understand that different, kind of basic cognitive mechanisms which may be playing together in which, perhaps will contribute towards some of the approaches which will provide help and benefit to individuals.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.