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mental changes
british medical journal
short term memory
brain function
lack of exercise
high cholesterol
age category
heart health
Mental Changes Can Start At 45: British Medical Research Reveals Decline Starts Sooner Than Previously Believed
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Mental Changes Can Start at 45: British Medical Research Reveals Decline Starts Sooner Than Previously Believed

British researchers have published a new study in the British Medical Journal that may cause many people to start questioning some of their daily habits. That study, conducted with more than seven thousand civil servants, has looked at over ten years of data to come to the conclusion that despite the long held belief, mental decline is not reserved for those in their sixties. According to the research, small changes in daily cognitive function in a number of key areas might be occurring as early as the mid to late forties instead.

The researchers found changes in areas which included short term memory formation and recall, mental reasoning and verbal facility for participants in that age category but, noted that in most cases the changes were not serious enough to have been noticed by the person or their family members. Testing, including brain imaging and other lab tests were needed to detect the small changes that indicated brain function decline in most but not all of these cases. Testing for the participants was done every three to four years according to the researchers.

The research will be part of an ongoing study which will continue to follow participants as they reach milestones in age to see if there can be any clearly defined correlation between these beginning changes and later changes that can include more serious cases of dementia as well as Alzheimer's disease. None of the group had reached these age groups at the time of the publication.

Researchers have also linked overall physical health, especially heart health with the health of the brain and mental functioning in later years. Certain factors, such as obesity, high cholesterol and a lack of exercise, which are all known to be bad for the heart are also bad for the brain, dramatically elevating the risk for dementia.

In the US, another study has shown that a diet that is high in high fat foods can lead to permanent brain scarring which causes damage to a particular area of the brain responsible for the regulation of hunger and thirst. That area of the brain, called the hypothalamus, also plays a key role in the body's natural rhythm. The animal based study may soon be done with humans to see if the scarring occurs in the human brain as well, which in turn can help doctors devise a permanent weight loss solution for patients by addressing this brain damage.

Street Talk

Arnie, thanks for this article. I'm in my 60"s and what you say has helped me focus on learning more about keeping my brain healthy.

  about 1 decade ago

Best of luck and good health to you!

  about 1 decade ago
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