Brain Myth, #1

(Does old age necessarily make the brain worse?)

Myth #1: In Old Age, the Brain Only Gets Worse.

A person is not necessarily destined for a steep mental decline. Research indicates that a third of those over 70 function as well as ever.

  • It has been determined that starting around the age of 50, people of similar ages begin to differ more and more from one another in their mental performance; some capacities drop noticeably, others remain steady or may actually rise.
  • Some studies show that nearly a third of individuals enjoy steady lucidity throughout their twilight years.
  • The only thing that can be correctly assumed about an elderly person's mind is how many candles will be on the birthday cake.

  • Not only do most people retain strong mental skills until at least 70 years of age, but over a fourth continue on well past that age without significant drops in brainpower.
  • Factors most often associated with strong mental functions in older age groups include: an above-average level of education, a complex and stimulating lifestyle, and being married to a smart spouse.
  • Factors; such as, a rigid adherence to routine and low satisfaction with life are associated with the earlier deterioration of one's intellect.
  • Despite the conclusion of researchers in finding such correlations, they have yet to determine precisely how these things affect the aging brain.
-Compiled from excerpts located in "Brain Power" by Joannie M. Schrof;
in U.S. News & World Report; November 28, 1994; page 90.

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