Old age begins at 27? Well, it doesn't have to

Monday, March 16, 2009

Graduation at university, a ceremony marking the beginning of one's mental decline (by choice, mind you). 누가 수업 끝이래!

The Telegraph has a piece today on some research that has shown that mental ability begins to decline at the average age of 27 after peaking at 22, and thus concludes that 27 is the beginning of old age.

There's a much easier conclusion than that though: considering that the average age people finish university is 22, that the brain begins to slow down after 5 years of downtime. For some reason society in most countries is set up where people are expected to spend their youth studying every single day, 5 days a week (plus extra tasks on weekends), until graduation comes along and then...

done! Don't study anymore, you're done!

Five years after this release into the study-free life of your average adult there's no wonder that mental ability begins to decline. I wouldn't call this the beginning of old age though. Note that the article actually gives some other much more interesting numbers:

The first age at which performance was significantly lower than the peak scores was 27 – for three tests of reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualisation. Memory was shown to decline from the average age of 37. In the other tests, poorer results were shown by the age of 42.

However, the report published in the academic journal Neurobiology Of Ageing, found that abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until at the age of 60.

60 seems to be the real number people should be concerned with, followed by declining memory around the beginning of one's 40s. But to simply conclude that old age begins at 27 without taking into account the fact that most people that age have been out of school for a long period for the first time in their lives is stretching it a bit.


Anonymous said...

Je viens de voir votre replique a mon avis sur le "well-ordered (Lydhveldidh)Island". Je pense qu'on va voir que la corruption était impliquée dans la ruine des banques....

Todo el mehor, senyor To I Pich (c'est correct?) - Novparl

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