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Surprising Science

Cognitive Decline Starts at 45

The forgetfulness and clouded reasoning normally associated with ancient grandparents may kick in earlier than thought, according to a new study which says mental decline begins at age 45.

What’s the Latest Development?

The forgetfulness and clouded reasoning typically associated with very old age may begin as early as your mid-forties, according to a new study from University College London. Assessing the mental performance of 7,390 individuals at three points over ten years, researchers tested each person on their verbal and mathematical reasoning, vocabulary and verbal memory and fluency. At the start of the study in 1997, participants were aged 45 to 70 and researchers found a decline in cognitive function across all age groups.

What’s the Big Idea?

Scientists were surprised to see cognitive decline in individuals aged 45 to 49 since recent reviews have concluded that mental capabilities begin to slide in your sixties. Less surprisingly, the older group of participants in the study experienced a steeper decline. Research believe that the earlier cognitive decline can be identified, the better chance there is at preventing dementia, for which there is no cure. “Effective interventions will need to be administered long before marked neurodegeneration has occurred,” said an author of the study.

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