As we get older, it’s no secret the memory starts fading, clear thinking becomes more challenging and forgetfulness ensues. It’s fairly normal, age-related decline. But a new study provides a bit of a jolt: that cognitive decline can begin at the age of 45.
We live in a time of increased life expectancy. This means that the population will be more differently composed than ever before, with a huge rise in the number of older adults. Such changes may have a huge influence on the life of individuals and on society in general.
Now, much evidence shows a link between age and cognitive performance, but the age at which cognitive decline begins is much debated. Recent studies concluded that there was little evidence of cognitive decline before the age of 60.
But not so fast. Studies show a correlation between the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain and the severity of cognitive decline. It seems that these amyloid plaques are found in the brains of young adults.
RECOMMENDED: Try This Natural Way to Sharpen the Mind
The new study extracted medical data for 5,198 men and 2,192 women, aged between 45 and 70, who were monitored for 10 years. Their cognitive functions were evaluated three times, with tests to assess memory, vocabulary, reasoning, and verbal fluency.
The results show that cognitive performance (apart from the vocabulary tests) declines with age and more rapidly so as the individual’s age increases. The decline is significant in each age group.
For example, during the period studied, reasoning scores decreased by 3.6 % for men aged between 45 and 49, and 9.6% for those aged between 65 and 70. The corresponding figures for women stood at 3.6% and 7.4%, respectively.
The researchers say that cognitive decline before the age of 60 has significant consequences. Starting treatment or prevention strategies are effective before the onset of decline. If our brains are declining at 45, it means we should be paying more attention to strengthening the brain and shielding it from such damaging conditions as Alzheimer’s disease.