Moments: Staved off through education?
as popularly described by many elderly, and as "cognitive decline" by
the medical and mental health community, may be much more preventable
than many realize. Two surveys conducted in 1993 and 2002 "support
the idea that more education is protective against cognitive decline"
according to Dr. Kenneth M. Langa, as reported to Reuters health.
In this important
"senior moment" research, Dr. Langa of the University of Michigan at
Ann Arbor, found that between the 1993 and 2002 surveys there was a
nearly 30% decline in cognitive impairment while the average education
level rose by 1 year between the studies conducted approximately a
considered demographic, lifestyle and medical information as well as
various cognitive measures such as knowledge, language, orientation,
mental processing, and memory among participants in the Health and
Retirement Study which had 7406 participants in the 1983 study and
7104 in the 2002 survey. Dr. Langa reported in the journal of
Alzheimer's and Dementia that the average age of the two groups was 78
years old, was primarily white, 40% male, and about half were living
with their spouse.
"Senior moments" research results:
that approximately 12.2% of the participants had cognitive impairment
in 1993. By 2002, the rates of these “senior moments” or cognitive
decline, slipped to a rate of 8.7%. Interestingly enough, the 2002
respondents also reported significantly greater net worth than the
1993 respondents, in addition to achieving more education. Dr. Langa
stated in an interview with Reuter’s Health, that "higher levels of
wealth likely lead to more or better educational opportunities and
better access to health care.”
found that among individuals who had moderate to severe cognitive
impairment, there was also a higher mortality rate among individuals
in the 2002 study. The implication may be that while education may be
protective, when it occurs the cognitive decline may be more severe
and carry a greater risk of death.
reached by some experts as a result of this research is that
improvements in education and mental stimulation during leisure and
work activities may have an impact upon individual's health, possibly
reducing the incidence and severity of these "senior moments".
Obviously, research will need to continue in order to come to more
conclusive analysis about the impact of mental stimulation on
cognitive impairment or what many famously refer to as "senior
Information adapted from Alzheimer's and Dementia, online February 20,
Additional Information and
webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
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