Brain Drain Begins in 40s

Cognitive decline starts as early as age forty five

(RxWiki News) While past research suggests mental decline begins around retirement, recent research demonstrates cognitive degradation occurs as early as forty-five years old.

According to a new study available online through the BMJ Group, an organization dedicated toward health education, “cognitive decline is already evident in middle age."

"Focus on living a healthy lifestyle to maintain your cognitive capacity, at any age.  "

Lead author on the study, Archana Singh-Manoux, Ph.D., research director at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, worked with seven colleagues—all doctors, professors, researchers, or statisticians—to complete the research.

The team recruited 5,198 men and 2,192 women, ages forty-five to seventy, to complete a ten-year cognitive function study.

Investigators administered tests for memory, reasoning, and vocabulary, as well as their verbal fluency in terms of wording and articulation at three separate points during the ten-year time frame. Participants were grouped and analyzed in five, five-year age segments.

The objective of their study was to infer the impact of age on cognitive decline, and researchers found just that. Dr. Singh-Manoux reports, “All cognitive scores, except vocabulary, declined in all five age categories with evidence of faster decline in older people.”

Moreover, findings suggest men and women express similar decline with time, though men expressed larger declines over the course of the study.

These findings come as a surprise, as previous research inferred mental digression to begin around age sixty; however this view was not holistically accepted. This new evidence promotes action towards health assurance in early life to combat mental decline.

Dr. Singh-Manoux and her colleagues link these studies with disorders marked by declining cognition, such as dementia. “Adverse cognitive outcomes like dementia are now thought to be the result of long term processes,” Singh-Manoux explains.

This “long term” is thought to be around twenty to thirty years.

Seeing as though this decline was observed as early as forty-five, this means that the damage could start as early as age fifteen. The doctor stresses, “There is enough evidence to show the importance of healthy lifestyles and cardiovascular risk factors.”

Review Date: 
January 6, 2012