Cognitive decline could start early

Cognitive decline can start much earlier than previously thought, new research found. Published in the British Medical Journal, the study revealed the brain's ability to function might begin its deterioration at the age of just 45.

Investigators at University College London looked at comprehension, vocabulary and memory skills of people aged between 45 and 70 over a ten-year period.

They discovered a 3.6 per cent reduction in mental reasoning for members of both sexes aged 45 to 49, despite previous studies on the subject suggesting cognitive decline does not get underway until a person is in their sixties.

Professor Archana Singh-Manoux from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and leader of the research team at University College London, noted a link between such changes in the body and the onset of dementia.

The expert added: "Rates of dementia are going to soar and health behaviours like smoking and physical activity are linked to levels of cognitive function."

Last year, Professor Lorraine Tyler, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, gave 2011's British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture on a related subject at the Royal Society in London. Professot Tyler explained how resilient the brain can be and what we can do to stave off the effects of age. Read more about Professor Tyler's lecture on The Resilient Brain as reported in The Psychologist.