REAL LIFE NEWS: BRAIN DECLINE BEGINS EARLY
Just when does old age start? 50, 60, or even older? Since I have just turned 50 I'd like to think it's quite a bit older than that! But US research recently showed a much more depressing view. Apparently, your mental powers start to dwindle at the age of 27 - and the peak of brain power is at just 22. After that it's all downhill.
Professor Timothy Salthouse of Virginia University found that reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualisation all decline in our late 20s. This means that therapies intended to halt or reverse the aging process may need to start a whole lot earlier than previously thought.
In his study, 2,000 healthy people aged 16-80 were put through a number of tests of their mental agility. They had to solve puzzles, recall words and story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols. These are all tests used by doctors to spot signs of dementia, but usually not employed until old age has truly set in.
In nine out of 12 tests, the average age for the top performance was 22. The first age at which there was any marked decline was at 27 for tests of brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability. Memory didn't show any problems until 37, on average, while abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60.
In other words, there's no hope for me - my brain has been steadily declining for the past twenty years or so. Oh dear.