Feel Like Your Memory is Declining?

April 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Build Mind Power

Quantum Mind Power GymYikes. New US research says  that after peaking at about age 22, our mind power starts to decline at about age 27.

Professor Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia found reasoning, spatial visualisation and speed of thought and memory all decline in our late 20s. Mind power exercises designed to stall or reverse the mental aging process and declining memory may need to start much earlier, he said.

His seven-year study of 2,000 healthy people aged 18-60 is published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

To test mental agility, the study participants had to solve puzzles, recall words and story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols.  In nine out of 12 tests the average age at which the top performance was achieved was 22. The first age at which there was any marked declining memory was at 27 in tests of memory, speed of thought, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability.

But the good news is that  abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information increased until the age of 60 among those who continued to exercise their brain.


Don’t Invite Memory Loss

April 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Life Mastery

howadultAt one time or another nearly everyone over the age of 30 has received a birthday card joking about their declining memory or other common ailments of old age.

Now a study suggest that such negative portrayals of old age actually help bring about the  problems they joke about, such as  memory loss in old age.

In one part of the study Harvard University researcher Bacca Levy, Ph.D., asked volunteers aged 60 or over to press either the up or down arrow on a keyboard each time a word was flashed on a computer monitor. Some participants were shown words with negative connotations about aging, such as senile and incompetent, while other folks saw terms with more positive associations, such as wise or alert

Each word was visible for such a brief period of time–anywhere from a tenth to a twentieth of a second–that the participants couldn’t actually read them. Even so, subjects shown words that reinforced negative views of the erderly later performed more poorly on memory loss tests than folks who saw the positive words, Levy reports in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

So negative stereotypes may become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially if we’re not conscious that we’ve been exposed to them. This shows how insidious our views of aging are, Levy says. Maybe it’s no coincidence that in an earlier cross-cultural study Levy found that views of aging are particularly positive in China–where elders far outperform their American counterparts on memory tests designed to measure memory loss in old age.