Cognitive Decline Sets in at 45, Says New ResearchBad news for those over the hill: new research shows you might start to suffer from cognitive decline as early as age 45.
The research, which looked at over 7000 people between the ages of 45 and 70 when the study started, watched participants over a 10 year period. Disturbingly enough, even the youngest participants started declining immediately.
The participants were tested at three different points throughout the experiment, with each point testing their mathematical ability, verbal ability, reasoning and vocabulary. Every age group suffered cognitive decline between all three points, indicating that the mind was already starting to go around age 45. The steepest decline was seen later in life, however, around age 65-70.
If you are interested in the numbers, 45-50 year old men saw a 3.6% decline in cognitive ability over the 10 year study, while men aged 65-70 saw a 9.6% decline. Women age 45-50 saw a similar rate of decline to men, but women aged 65-70 saw a slightly lesser decline, at 7.4%. The differences in rate might explain why another study found that cognitive decline doesn’t start until age 60.
Scientists are hoping that these results can be used for an early diagnosis of dementia, which dramatically decreases perceived intelligence.
By knowing the normal rate at which a human’s cognitive ability declines, diagnosticians can track an individual’s decline vs the average. If the person is declining faster, it might be evidence of a cognitive disorder. Of course, the same study would need to be run on those suffering from dementia to get a comparable rate.