Are you feeling old? If so, you’re definitely not alone. According to new research done at the University of Virginia, our mental abilities begin to decline from the age of 27, after reaching a peak at age 22.
The study followed 2,000 men and women aged 18 to 60 over a seven year period. The people involved, who were mostly in good health had to solve visual puzzles, recall words and spot patterns in letters and symbols.
These tests are similar to those frequently used to diagnose mental disabilities and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Professor Timothy Salthouse, led the research which was reported in the academic journal Neurobiology of Aging. It found that in nine out of twelve tests that were preformed, the average age at which the top performance was achieved was 22.
Performance was significantly lower than the peak scores at age 27 — for three tests of reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualization. The decline in Memory was shown to occur from the average age of 37. In the other tests, poorer results were shown by the age of 42.
Salthouse said the results suggested that therapies designed to prevent or reverse age-related conditions may need to start earlier, long before people retire.
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