21/01/2011 10:53 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

It's Good To Talk (Especially For Your Brain)

woman-talking-telephone-memory Having a natter helps boost your memory. Photo: Getty

Most of us realise it's not just our bodies that we have to take care of, but also our brains - especially if we want to avoid developing memory-related problems as we get older.

In fact the significance of maintaining our brains has become such a popular notion, a huge industry of brain-training games and gadgets has developed out of it.

But if research by University of Zurich researchers is anything to go by, you can forget all those daily puzzles, crosswords and computer-based brain-training games. To keep your memory in good shape, just have a good old natter with someone.

The scientists, writing in the journal The Cochrane Library, analysed 36 different studies that involved volunteers taking part in memory tests. Unsurprisingly, some of the studies showed that memory training exercises did improve memory in some people. But others claimed a similar improvement when the only exercise was to hold a discussion, for example about art.

The research is particularly significant for the elderly in this country, who are becoming increasingly isolated according to older people's charity Age Concern.

But it also suggests people of any age can start keeping their brains in good shape by chatting more often with friends and family - either in person or by simply picking up the phone.

Are you a bit of a chatterbox? Or the strong, silent type?

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