Brain power can decline from age 45 - study

2012-01-06 12:00

Paris - Cognitive skills can start to fall from the age of 45, not from around the age of 60 as is commonly thought, according to research published on Friday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Researchers led by Archana Singh-Manoux from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London observed 5 198 men and 2 192 women over a 10-year period from 1997.

The volunteers were London civil servants aged between 45 and 70 who had been enrolled in a long-term health study.

Over the 10 years, the participants were tested three times - for memory, vocabulary, and skills in aural and visual comprehension.

During this time, there was a 3.6% decline in mental reasoning in men aged 45-49 and a 9.6% fall in those aged 65-70. The corresponding figures for women were 3.6% and 7.4%.

"Cognitive decline is already evident in middle age," says the paper, which defines this as the years from 45 to 49.

The findings should spur further research into spotting and braking cognitive deterioration, the authors hope.

Many societies face an "exponential increase" in the number of elderly people as a result of increases in life expectancy, they note.

"These changes are likely to have a profound influence on individuals' lives and society at large. Poor cognitive status is perhaps the single most disabling condition in old age."

  • TheMonk - 2012-01-06 12:39

    Well if we go by what medical research tells us, then spinach has high iron content, but at the same time does not :) Give it some time then another idiot team of researchers will prove that brain power actually begins to increase from age 45. How are we supposed to take research like this seriously???

      Eugene - 2012-01-06 12:44

      The researchers may well all be over 45, so perhaps we shouldn't take them too seriously. :-)

  • Robsschele - 2012-01-06 13:04

    Up to age 45 men think with their dicks so a lot of thinking is going on. After that men don't have to reason anymore because they allready know what they need to know and just apply their knowledge. Another thing is that the "tests" were run on Londonners which also happened to be English. And being english they most probably only speak one language. In previous "tests" it was suggested that people that can speak more than one language are more open to thinking.

  • Fawzia - 2012-01-06 13:40

    research is not always correct, objectivity is fast going out of research. it would be interesting to query whether the researcher confined himself to a specific race group of civil servants, whether he considered their nutrition & various other factors.

      Andre Malan - 2012-01-06 16:14

      Just the fact that the research was limited to civil servants has me ignoring the results. I think a person's brain power starts diminishing the minute he / she becomes a civil servant, no matter what the age ;-).

      jowza1 - 2012-01-06 16:27

      that explains pik botha,piet koornhof and kortbroek.thanks for clearing that up andre

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