A new study has found that age alone does not determine cognitive abilities. It finds that people who reach their 90s today are sharper than those who turned nonagenarian 10 years ago.
The research, conducted in Denmark and published in medical journal The Lancet, studied two groups—one comprising nearly 2,200 people born in 1905, the second of nearly 1,600 people born in 1915. The study, which lasted 12 years, shows it’s the intellectual environment that makes the difference, because physically there was no difference between the two groups.
Even after adjusting for improvements in education, the 1915 group performed better in the cognitive measures. This, say the authors, suggests that changes in factors like nutrition, infectious diseases and work environment positively impact cognitive functioning.
The key takeaway: Cognitive abilities remain supple and in good condition at a much higher age than most of us believe.
(This story appears in the 09 August, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)