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Mental abilities 'fade earlier than previously thought'

Mental abilities 'fade earlier than previously thought'
28th August 2008

Mental abilities begin to deteriorate much sooner than previously thought, scientists have claimed.

Swedish researchers have conducted a study which suggests some cognitive skills begin to fail almost 15 years before death, rather than around five years before the end of a person's life, Reuters reported.

Valgeir Thorvaldsson, one of the Gothenburg University scientists behind the study, said people reach their mental peak between 35 and 40, after which they begin to decline steadily in cognitive functions, the news agency continued.

Writing for the journal Neurology, he said: "There is substantial acceleration in cognitive decline many years prior to death among individuals without dementia."

Previously, Help the Aged called for policymakers to make it easier for older people to play an active role in society.

It called for the image of the elderly as being dependents to change, adding that the government must reform the social care system as a priority.

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