All jokes about bureaucrats aside, scientists begin following 5,198 men and 2,192 women in 1997 in what has been called the Whitehall II study, a health-research project that recruited government workers in and around Whitehall in London, England. The individuals who participated were between 45 and 70 when the study began. Over the course of ten years the individuals were tested three times for memory, reasoning, vocabulary and phonemic and semantic fluency. The study found that all cognitive scores, except vocabulary declined, with evidence of faster decline in older individuals. The researchers concluded that cognitive decline is already evident in middle age (45 – 49).
This research, while quite focused in its research pool, suggests that brain health is an important focus in middle age and should be taken seriously. Do you have a brain health plan?