Cognitive Decline Detectable as Early as Age 45
As we grow older, our bodies become weaker and our minds’ normal functions, or cognitive functions, start to decline. Early studies show that cognitive decline starts at the age of 60 but a recent study on the subject found that decline can start as early as 45 years of age; this is according to researchers from the University of London.
Signs of Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline is not easy to detect but it does come with age. As we grow old, our mind slows down. We’ll start feeling that we are not as sharp as we used to be. Medical professionals use test sets to measure cognitive functions and here are some usual signs of cognitive decline:
- Decreased learning ability
- Difficulties remembering / short-term memory loss
- Speed in processing information slows down
With cognitive decline, the brain becomes prone to other diseases as well, like stroke or acquired brain injury.
The Latest on Cognitive Decline
Researchers from the University of London started a long-term study on the decline of cognitive functions. They started testing more than 5,000 men and 2,000 women, aged 45 to 70, back in 1997. The study’s objective was to find out if decline would start before the age of 60. Testing went on for a decade, measuring participants’ different cognitive functions.
Researchers found that there was cognitive decline in all categories except vocabulary. The study found that men and women aged 45 to 49 showed a -3.6% decline in cognitive functions. The decline increased as people got older. Those aged 65 to 70 showed a -9.6% (men) and -7.4% (women) declines in cognitive function.
The findings opened up new research agendas. Researchers are now looking into the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles, since decline can actually happen earlier in life than later. Maintaining a healthy body and eating healthy foods lead to a healthier mind, possibly avoiding decline at an early age. Also, researchers are looking into cases of dementia and the need to start efforts of prevention at an earlier age. They have yet to design a research approach for this study.