Dementia’s first sign could appear in the 5th decade of life

Dementia symptoms may start in the 5th decade of lifeResearchers have found that signs of aging may appear at the age of 45 in the form of cognitive decline such as dementia.

This research has been done by Archana Singh-Manoux at France’s Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in Villejuif, near Paris, and colleagues, and has been published online in January 5 issue of British Medical Journal.

Researchers worked on more than 7000 U.K. government workers in their mid-to-late 40s including 5198 men and 2192 women working in and around Whitehall in London, and found decreasing scores on memory, reasoning and fluency and there was a dramatic deterioration as the people aged.

Researchers found a decline of 3.6% in reasoning over a decade in men and women in the age range of 45 to 49. They found that men in the age range of 65 to 70 showed a 9.6% drop while women in that age range had a 7.4% decrease. According to researchers, vocabulary was the only area where the test score didn’t fell.

The research is open for further studies on general population as all the participants had stable jobs. However, this research is important as the treatment for dementia works more effectively in the start of the disease.

European Science Foundation, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the BUPA Foundation, the Academy of Finland, the U.K. Medical Research Council and the British Heart Foundation jointly funded the study.


Archana Singh-Manoux, research director, Mika Kivimaki, professor of social epidemiology, M Maria Glymour, assistant professor, Alexis Elbaz, research director, Claudine Berr, research director, Klaus P Ebmeier, professor of old age psychiatry, Jane E Ferrie, senior research fellow, Aline Dugravot, statistician, (2011). Timing of onset of cognitive decline: results from Whitehall II prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal, doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7622

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