In the developed countries, people live longer than in previous decades, thanks to advances in medicine and healthy ways of life. The focus now is on how to grow old without having constraints, keeping mind and body as young as possible. A new research brings some bleak information regarding this: brain decline starts much earlier than commonly thought, at 45 years old. This news is not all as bad as it sounds, though; with this new data scientists and doctors may be able to develop a better treatment to avoid brain comedown.
The study, recently published in the British Medical Journal, was conducted by researchers at the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London in the United Kingdom. They chose more than 10,000 people among civil servants in London, aged 45-70, to conduct a series of cognitive tests, assessed for 3 times over 10 years starting in 1997.
The researchers found that the decline both on men and women aged 45-49 was off 3.6%, which led to the conclusion that “cognitive decline is already evident in middle age”, according to the authors. While in older people the decline was higher, there were differences among men and women: at age 65-70, there was a 9.6% drop in the case of men and a 7.4% drop in the case of women.
This finding should remark the importance of an early detection of diseases like dementia. As the authors put it: “The age at which cognitive decline begins is important because behavioural or pharmacological interventions designed to alter cognitive ageing trajectories are more likely to work if they are applied when individuals first begin to experience decline”.
Source: The Guardian
Singh-Manoux, A., Kivimaki, M., Glymour, M., Elbaz, A., Berr, C., Ebmeier, K., Ferrie, J., & Dugravot, A. (2012). Timing of onset of cognitive decline: results from Whitehall II prospective cohort study BMJ, 344 (jan04 4) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d7622