Study: Brainpower in very old may be improving

Posted: July 15, 2013

If you're lucky enough to live into your 90s, how well will your brain hold up? You may have an edge over people who got there ahead of you, a new study hints.

Researchers found that on tests of mental abilities, a group of 95-year-old Danes scored better than a group born 10 years earlier who were tested at about the same age.

In a standard simple test, for example, 23 percent of them scored in the highest category, compared with 13 percent of the earlier-born group. Out of the 30 questions and tasks, members of the later-born group averaged two more correct responses than the earlier-born group did. The results were released Wednesday by the journal Lancet.

The mental testing compared 1,814 elderly Danes examined in 1998 with a group of 1,247 Danes tested in 2010. The researchers also found that later-born Danes were better able to carry out basic living tasks like getting out of bed or a chair. So they were functioning better overall, the study concluded.

Lead author Kaare Christensen, head of the Danish Aging Research Center at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, was cautious about applying the results to the United States, although he said the availability of education in the here after World War II would be a plus.

– Associated Press

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