Yeah, you may look pretty good, maybe even damn near perfect … downright delicious, but I bet that chunk of gray pork in your head is already showing signs of some serious sluggishness, if not just complete, profound rot.
In a recent study of more than 2,000 people between the ages of 18 to 60 published in the latest edition of the journal Neurobiology of Aging, scientists found that on average cognitive abilities were best and sharpest at age 22. The study conducted at the Salthouse Cognitive Aging Lab at the University of Virginia has shown that cognitive abilities may decline much earlier than previously thought. Head of the study, Professor Timothy Salthouse, found indications that there was a marked decline in brain functions like reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualization by the age of 27. Other tests also show memory performance begins faltering around 37 years of age. However, and this is slightly odd, the study finds that with more long term accumulated knowledge, vocabularies actually increased until about the age of 60. For example, my mom can say “you’re full of shit” in six different languages.
In Salthouse's study, participants were asked to solve puzzles, recall story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols -- similar testing is used to detect dementia. Salthouse states the difference between this study and comparable research is that other tests could not uncover signs of cognitive decline; older testing methods did not account for prior test experience. Common knowledge-type tests tend to give middle-aged participants an advantage.
Whew! This study eased many of my worries. In my youth I once showed some promise, but then in my late 20’s something inexplicably flattened my quasi-whiz kid, semi-demi-brilliant, slightly better then OK, B-minus intellect. Now I know I was just an innocent victim of natural brain chemistry decline … outstanding!