Some people seem to defy the conventional wisdom that aging brings mental decline, remaining mentally sharp into their 70s and beyond. While these seniors serve as inspiration to many, to scientists such as Marilyn Albert, PhD, they offer something more—an opportunity to explore which traits or characteristics distinguish these mentally vigorous individuals from others who experience mental decline as they age.
Albert, director of the division of cognitive neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md, notes that several large community-based studies have examined the factors that predict which individuals are likely to maintain good memory, language skills, and overall cognitive function as they age. Despite the geographic and cultural differences of the populations studied, they have all reached similar conclusions about the lifestyle factors that seem to contribute to maintaining healthy cognitive function into advanced age.
Kuehn BM. Studies Explore Strategies for Staying Sharp. JAMA. 2006;295(5):487. doi:10.1001/jama.295.5.487