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Medicine Science

Brain Decline Begins At Age 27 381

Posted by timothy
from the mine-started-before-that dept.
krou writes "The BBC is reporting that a new study suggests that our mental abilities start to dwindle at 27 after peaking at 22, and 27 could be seen as the 'start of old age.' The seven-year study, by Professor Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia, looked at 2,000 healthy people aged 18-60, and used a number of mental agility tests already used to spot signs of dementia. 'The first age at which there was any marked decline was at 27 in tests of brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability. Things like memory stayed intact until the age of 37, on average, while abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60.'"
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Brain Decline Begins At Age 27

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  • You kids! (Score:5, Funny)

    by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:03AM (#27225415) Journal

    Get off my... uh green thing, with the, um little plants? What's it called?

    • by internerdj (1319281) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:09AM (#27225499)
      Who are you? What are you talking about? And have you seen my glasses?
    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:16AM (#27225625)

      Get off my... uh green thing, with the, um little plants? What's it called?

      I'm guessing pot garden? :-)

    • by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:17AM (#27225633)

      ... or perhaps the reason they saw declining figures starting at the age of 27, is that older people who are more intelligent, tend to not have the time, choose not to waste the effort, and do not need the $100, to participate in these kinds of studies.

      That's the problem with doing these kinds of studies as a point-measurement across an age-range. The test groups cannot possibly be equivalent, unless a VERY large sample is taken at random from the population. Frankly, I'll have trouble believing such a study unless it's a prospective study that tests the same volunteers across a span of their lifetime.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vasp (978274)
        Another question one should ask is 'do new generations get smarter?' What if the kids of these 60 year olds will be smarter on average than their parents generation? I will certainly read up on this in 40 or so years..
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ZeroExistenZ (721849)

          'do new generations get smarter?

          Maybe not "get smarter", but as our society has evolved more to a knowledge based one, where you need to keep adapting to keep up and be successful, and we are trained to constantly welcome the "new best thing", I also believe the generations growing up now will be more trained to adjust and learn.

          My parents grew up in a world where you would study, get a job and stick with that job. "pick the job with the most jobsecurity", these days you study your entire carreer to keep up

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tgatliff (311583)

        The problem, in my mind, is defining intelligence... Simply saying that abstract object picking or abstract problem solving is the ultimate judge to intelligence is misleading at best...

        An example of this is marathon runners... Even though younger marathon runners are clearly physically superior than their older more seasoned competitors, it is rare to see the young runners win races. The reason is simple... Physical superiority (just like raw processing mental ability) is not always the deciding factor..

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Theoboley (1226542)
        Truth. They probably got a bunch of hobos off the street, offered them a sammich and a warm place to hang out for a couple hours. No wonder why their results are most likely askew.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by da cog (531643)

        ...except that the study didn't just show that people over 27 did less well on the score, but also that their scores on certain tests *declined over time*.

        So assuming your theory, which basically boils down to supposing that the older people who are taking this test are stupider then those who chose not to take the test and thus bias the outcome, you would also have to explain why this group also just happens to get less good at the test over time than the younger people.

        Of course, I suppose it would be to

        • by yali (209015) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @01:12PM (#27228957)

          Googling the name of the journal, Neurobiology of Aging, leads to the abstract [neurobiologyofaging.org] for this study:

          Cross-sectional comparisons have consistently revealed that increased age is associated with lower levels of cognitive performance, even in the range from 18 to 60 years of age. However, the validity of cross-sectional comparisons of cognitive functioning in young and middle-aged adults has been questioned because of the discrepant age trends found in longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses. The results of the current project suggest that a major factor contributing to the discrepancy is the masking of age-related declines in longitudinal comparisons by large positive effects associated with prior test experience. Results from three methods of estimating retest effects in this project, together with results from studies comparing non-human animals raised in constant environments and from studies examining neurobiological variables not susceptible to retest effects, converge on a conclusion that some aspects of age-related cognitive decline begin in healthy educated adults when they are in their 20s and 30s.

          In other words, the researchers were wayyyy ahead of slashdot. They analyzed both cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal designs. They modeled and controlled for potential confounds due to (a) sampling bias in cross-sectional comparisons (point raised by grandparent) and (b) practice-effect biases in longitudinal comparisons (because if you take any test twice, you'll probably do better the second time). They also validated their results with other methods (like neurobiological assessments). What they got was a convergence of results from multiple methods, which is exactly what good science is supposed to be.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yvanhoe (564877)
        Also, 27 is the age where we stop learn new stuff : studies are finished, you begin to be veteran at your work, so learning basically stops. What is the cause, what is the consequence ? I don't know but I doubt (and hope) that the brain can keep functionning well after 27
    • YMMV (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:22AM (#27225717) Homepage Journal

      My mental abilities declined severely in 1976 when I was in a terrible auto accident. They improved markedly over the next ten years.

      Knowledge, practice, and experience more than make up for the so-called "decline". Why is it that slashdot's geezers know the difference between "lose" and "loose", and between their, they're, and there? Maybe because they've had more time to read more books and figure out the context of those words' uses?

      I used to be fast, I could catch a fly in mid flight with my bare hand. Now I can only catch the old flies.

      As to your question, see my sig.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by JCSoRocks (1142053)
        Old people unite! See sig.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cornflake917 (515940)

        Why is it that slashdot's geezers know the difference between "lose" and "loose", and between their, they're, and there? Maybe because they've had more time to read more books and figure out the context of those words' uses?

        Apparently, slashdot's geezers also like to make bad assumptions. Last time I checked, there is no age attached to a slashdot user ID. How would you know that old people are using correct grammar while the hatchlings are not? Second of all, how would you know that if someone does use poor grammar, that they are using poor grammar because they actually don't know the difference or because they don't care?

        I think your brain is failing you, old man! :)

        (So tempted to use "you're" just to get on your nerves

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mcgrew (92797)

          How would you know that old people are using correct grammar while the hatchlings are not?

          There are other contextual clues that a young person doesn't have the temporal experience to be able to see. You are unacquainted with 1965, while I am fully acquainted with 2005.

          And no, I'm sure there are geezers who don't know "they're" ass from a hole in the ground. Illiteracy is the mark of someone who doesn't read.

      • by causality (777677)

        Knowledge, practice, and experience more than make up for the so-called "decline". Why is it that slashdot's geezers know the difference between "lose" and "loose", and between their, they're, and there? Maybe because they've had more time to read more books and figure out the context of those words' uses?

        Because as time passes the general standards for attention to detail and a sense of caring about what you do -- enough to try to do it well -- have eroded. For the example you gave, anytime it comes up I

      • by gsslay (807818)

        Why is it that slashdot's geezers know the difference between "lose" and "loose", and between their, they're, and there? Maybe because they've had more time to read more books and figure out the context of those words' uses?

        Except I knew the difference between all these words by my mid-teens, if not earlier. It doesn't take a further 20 years and geezerhood to figure them out, just a half-way decent educational system when you're young.

      • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @12:25PM (#27227951) Journal

        In my case it was in 2000, and I spent a year having a lot of trouble reading sentences and managing to follow the meaning. I could handle Dr. Seuss. It's gotten consistently better since then, although I'm still nowhere near as conventionally smart as I was.
        What I find interesting is that although I feel like I'm the same person, my friends say I'm a much nicer, more considerate person now, and that I accomplish a lot more because I'm more persistent and organized -- because I have to be, since I have a lot of issues with short-term memory.
        When I was going to a cognitive therapist, one of the things she mentioned was that in some ways they were going to treat me for aging, as much as the accident. She said, four years ago, that she felt like people peaked mentally at about 30, and she wanted to see if she could do stuff to just ward off age-related decline so I'd be about as smart as I would have been anyway. I was prescribed two different types of anti-Alzheimer's medication and wowie, were they amazing in terms of focus and memory. I wish I could afford to keep taking them. Breathtakingly expensive but seriously amazing effects.

  • by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:03AM (#27225421)

    but I'm 31, not 22.

  • But then I'm way past 27...
  • Peaking at 22 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:04AM (#27225431) Journal
    What a coincidence! That's when most people graduate from college!
    • by Thelasko (1196535)

      What a coincidence! That's when most people graduate from college!

      It makes me wonder if the same thing holds true for people who pursue advanced degrees. Would doctors peak at 26 and begin do decline at 31?

    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#27225959)

      But the difference being insignificant between 22-26.

      Anyway. It's just old enough to see your offspring grow to adulthood/sexual maturity and therefore make you largely irrelevant to your genes.

       

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        No offense, but TFA is backed up by at least SOME research. They stated the peak was 22.

        On what info can you just posit that "The peak is probably somewhere around 24".

        Based on what it says it looks like a peak at 22 and then it would plateau until starting to fall again at around 27.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by EvilIdler (21087)

      Wait...decline begins AFTER graduation? Are you saying all that booze preserves your mental acuity?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jd (1658)

        Pickling is an excellent way to preserve. Everyone knows that.

  • by ecklesweb (713901) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:08AM (#27225479)

    [sarcasm]
    Yeah, like I'm going to pay any attention to a study by a guy who got his Ph.D. in 1974 [psychologicalscience.org] whose brain has therefore been declining for at least 35 years...
    [/sarcasm]

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <<ten.suomafni> <ta> <smt>> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:08AM (#27225481) Homepage

    Or, maybe by their late 20s, people have had enough of stupid tests -- they're done with school and the day when success was measured by testing rather than real accomplishments are over. Being less interested and excited by tests, they score lower.

    If old age begins at 27, then I can say that from over a decade in, it's not so bad. I can still kick 20-somethings butts. I just wish those darn kids would stay off my lawn. (True -- I live near a middle school and the bastards keep cutting through yards to walk to school...)

    • by cruff (171569)

      I agree. I decided to not pursue any advanced degree because I was sick and tired of taking tests.

    • I just wish those darn kids would stay off my lawn. (True -- I live near a middle school and the bastards keep cutting through yards to walk to school...)

      Build a fence. They work wonders.

      Alternatively, sit on your porch eating sunflower seeds and spit on the kids as they walk by (this is what my ornery neighbor did when I was a kid -- be warned, this path leads to BAD mischief nights).

    • I just wish those darn kids would stay off my lawn. (True -- I live near a middle school and the bastards keep cutting through yards to walk to school...)

      Get a motion activated sprinkler. Or one of the gadgets that emit high pitched sounds that people over 25 can't hear.

  • LAlALala, wooooooot. Kinda ironic that this message is released on frikkin' St. Paddy's Day. D:

  • Unreliable (Score:3, Funny)

    by Errtu76 (776778) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:09AM (#27225505) Journal

    According to his own findings, these results can't be trusted as they come from a person who's mind is already decaying. I would've believed it if the prof was about 22 years old.

  • Noooooo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pdabbadabba (720526) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:10AM (#27225535) Homepage

    As a 26-year-old, let me be the first to say:

    "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

    • Don't you mean, "Do not want!"?

    • Re:Noooooo! (Score:5, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:27AM (#27225799)

      You think you have it bad, I'm 27. I was going to say something like "wooo! That means I'm at my peak." Then I realized that it said, right there, that 22 was the peak. Also I'm wearing my Mr Rogers cardigan, I told myself I was wearing it ironically, but now I see that for the lie it is. So enjoy these last few months when you can finish the summary before jumping to conclusions and can actually wear old person clothes ironically.

    • Re:Noooooo! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:29AM (#27225825)

      The time is gone, the song is over,
      Thought I'd something more to say.

    • Re:Noooooo! (Score:5, Funny)

      by reverseengineer (580922) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#27225977)
      As a 27-year old, I realize that I have completely spent the peak years of my intellectual capacity having made no greater contribution to the advancement of the human race than a few hundred Slashdot posts....




      Yeah, I can live with that.
      • by Shakrai (717556)

        I realize that I have completely spent the peak years of my intellectual capacity having made no greater contribution to the advancement of the human race than a few hundred Slashdot posts....

        Few hundred? You loser. I was up to almost 4,000 before the new discussion system kicked in and took away my ability to see my total post count.

      • by fataugie (89032)

        I had mod points (until I commented on this) and if the choice was available,
        I would have modded [-1 Sad].

      • Re:Noooooo! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:35AM (#27227027)

        As a 27-year old, I realize that I have completely spent the peak years of my intellectual capacity having made no greater contribution to the advancement of the human race than a few hundred Slashdot posts....

        Ever paged through an archived /. article on some topic of interest you're looking up - maybe you're in a discussion elsewhere and you think 'hang on, wasn't there that thing I read about a few years back where...' and you Google it and it turns up the /. page - and while reading through the comments for that article you come upon one that perfectly sums up exactly what you had in mind, exactly what you wanted to say, and does so concisely and clearly, far better than you ever could have put it?

        And then you look at who wrote that comment...

        ... and it's you?

        Because if as we're told it's all downhill from 27, then I suppose I'll have to expect a lot more experiences like that.

  • Uh-huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <[Satanicpuppy] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:10AM (#27225537) Journal

    Bit of a flamebait headline, eh? I know I'm not mentally as fast as my 3-year old (watching his little brain hum is a bit awe-inspiring...hard to believe I ever learned at that pace), but at the same time my actual skills are vastly more advanced.

    Likewise, I'm sure I was more mentally agile at 18 than I am now at 30, but I know for a fact at 18 I wasn't even a tenth the coder I am now: some of the things I remember struggling with are trivial now, and my productivity is dramatically higher.

    So yea, youth and energy are nice, but they fade as experience comes to the fore, and experience carries you until the real mental infirmities kick in.

    • Re:Uh-huh (Score:4, Informative)

      by krou (1027572) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:30AM (#27225849)

      That's why the summary says, "abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60" (emphasis mine).

      It's not your accumulated knowledge that declines initially, it's "brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability". When you consider that things such as dementia and alzheimer's are believed to begin several years before they noticeably affect you, your "decline" is going to be very subtle, and over a long period of time.

      Oh, and the headline was the BBC's.

      • Re:Uh-huh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <[Satanicpuppy] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:49AM (#27226185) Journal

        So the BBC can't do flamebait? Come on.

        And problem solving ability is more useful when you're young anyway, because there are so many problems that you don't know the solution to. Your brain is working overtime, all the time, trying to process crazy new information.

        My first mainframe admin job, I lived in a heightened state of awareness, like a 20 point buck during deer season. Every time the system hiccuped or some COBOL job crapped itself I had this adrenaline response...It was off the charts in my previous experience. That weight of hundreds of people and millions of dollars was terrifying.

        Now? It's old hat. Where I would have been running around and wracking my brain, I go get a cup of coffee, check the logs, and fix the problem. There's no panic, there's no high-end problem solving even, because I've already solved those problems in the past, I just need to apply that experience to the current problem.

        The thing is, that's life. As you move through life, the ability to react immediately to never-before-experienced situations should decline in favor of the ability to apply experience to a familiar problem.

        You see what I'm saying? The sort of problem solving that's declining isn't as useful to an adult as the ability to constructively apply experience. It is pejorative to refer to it as an overall decline in problem solving abilities; it's a decline in a type of problem solving ability.

        • by krou (1027572)

          Not claiming the BBC don't do flamebait, just pointing out it wasn't me doing the flame-bating ;)

          Sure, I get exactly what you're saying, and I do agree with you. I was just pointing out that what you initially described was exactly what the study was talking about.

    • by AJWM (19027)

      So yea, youth and energy are nice, but they fade as experience comes to the fore

      Yep, old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time.

      More seriously, it's faster and more efficient to retrieve a problem solution from memory than to solve it from first principles -- heck, with sufficient experience you recognize incipient problems before they start -- so as long as the RAM holds out it doesn't matter if the CPU speed starts to slip.

      Of course that doesn't apply to adapting to totally new situations,

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cro Magnon (467622)

        Of course that doesn't apply to adapting to totally new situations, something that youth has long known to be better at on average.

        OTOH, by the time you reach my age, there aren't that many totally new situations.

  • They told us never trust anyone over 30

    ...and what was that movie?

    • by Brickwall (985910)
      Wild in the streets

      Seriously, I'm over 50, and I do a lot to try to stay sharp. Sudoku, chess problems, bridge problems, cryptic crosswords - virtually every day. I think a lot of people once they get out of school just stop exercising their brains. What you don't use, you lose.

      • by conureman (748753)

        My son is still in school, and the only thing he seems to have learned is to stop using his brain. It took me ten years or so to get back on track, perhaps only because I eschewed the television in that time.

  • I'm ready for Carousel! Let the Last Day celebration begin!

  • Abstract (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Baldrson (78598) * on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:15AM (#27225601) Homepage Journal
    Volume 30, Issue 4, Pages 507-514 (April 2009)

    When does age-related cognitive decline begin? [neurobiologyofaging.org]

    Timothy A. Salthouse
    Received 17 April 2008; received in revised form 20 August 2008; accepted 12 September 2008. published online 24 February 2009.

    Abstract
    Cross-sectional comparisons have consistently revealed that increased age is associated with lower levels of cognitive performance, even in the range from 18 to 60 years of age. However, the validity of cross-sectional comparisons of cognitive functioning in young and middle-aged adults has been questioned because of the discrepant age trends found in longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses. The results of the current project suggest that a major factor contributing to the discrepancy is the masking of age-related declines in longitudinal comparisons by large positive effects associated with prior test experience. Results from three methods of estimating retest effects in this project, together with results from studies comparing non-human animals raised in constant environments and from studies examining neurobiological variables not susceptible to retest effects, converge on a conclusion that some aspects of age-related cognitive decline begin in healthy educated adults when they are in their 20s and 30s.

    My comment:

    Speaking as one of those aging boomers, age profiling is OK. So is racial, gender, sexual preference and religious profiling. We operating in a mysterious and complex world while suffering from a poverty of information. It's all about getting all the data you can, baby... its all about the data...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Speaking as one of those aging boomers, age profiling is OK. So is racial, gender, sexual preference and religious profiling. We operating in a mysterious and complex world while suffering from a poverty of information. It's all about getting all the data you can, baby... its all about the data...

      Sure, until someone spots a trend that Christians show a greater tendancy towards dementia than Atheists. Then it's a throw-down. Nevermind that it might be an exploratory study, or not be statistically significant (3%?), etc., the problem is as soon as we start doing these kinds of analysis people will take it out of proportion to either support or refute their own niche. The end result is social chaos. No, profiling is not okay. Gathering data is all fine and good, but there's serious ethical questions ab

      • by Baldrson (78598) *
        I mean, look at how many people think evolution is "just a theory", and you might start to realize just how dangerous a little knowledge is in the hands of morons.

        Gosh, its almost as bad as those morons who claim that "race is just a social construct"!

        Seriously, the problem with a little knowledge is it is too little. The social chaos results from people throwing data away and that starts with designating certain kinds of discrimination off limits to private parties making their own decisions, as does

  • stem cells (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:16AM (#27225621) Homepage

    I expect stem cell technology will allow us to replenish the abilities of our brains some time before most of us are too much older and dumber. Fear not, fellow 28-year-olds.

  • by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:20AM (#27225687)

    Most of the people I know in their late 20's (including myself) are done with college (including grad school), have homes, have or are planning to have kids, more concerned with paying bills and beginning to save for retirement than they are with being a super genius.

    So my question, is this hard biological evidence or psychology/sociology? I find it hard to believe that, at 27 (give or take) a switch is flicked that starts a downward spiral.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:25AM (#27225767)

    Chemo did a number on me too.

    But just getting older I can feel myself slipping away. A little less snap. A little slower reactions. The memory is also not that great (wasn't to start with).

    It ruins some of my hobbies like Ultimate and Boardgaming because there are no age/skill brackets for those activities like there are for softball.

    Ultimate is particularly bad because there has been a big push to get ultimate down to 13 year olds. So now you have people with 18 year old bodies and 5 years experience coming out to play "pickup". This leads to long periods of watching them run around like gazelles tossing the disk back and forth to each other. The only thing they can't do is fake well.

    Boardgaming- perhaps because of BSW or perhaps because of boardgamegeek has gone the other way- along the brain axis. Where boardgamers used to be a mix of average folks, increasingly you have certifiable genius's. Likewise, the games have gone away from dice to pure logic/player interaction over the past 8 years and these brainiacs can see almost to the end of the game from the first turn. And the bad part is that 10 minutes in, I can see if I've lost and now i have to sit through another 45 minutes until the actual loss. No handicapping, no dividing into different play classes.

    I find the lack of handicapping to be an expression of our "winner take all" society. I guess I need to either start a group with handicapping or move on to other activities.

    ---

    Other things you lose are sense of smell, sense of touch, and sense of taste.

    So don't give up your life from 18 to 30 so you can "have a good life" because you are giving up your best years.
    Definitely have some fun along the way.

    • by rgviza (1303161)

      > The memory is also not that great (wasn't to start with).

      Hmmm, I can't remember if my memory was ever any better...

      -Viz

    • by blueforce (192332)

      Where in the frak is -1 depressing when you need it?

  • by aquatone282 (905179) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:27AM (#27225807)

    For men that is.

    Now, where did I put my ED pills?

  • There's evidence that the brain goes through a spurt every seven years where we remember more, become more creative, and learn new stuff.

    I had a reference but forgot where I put it.

    Now get off my lawn.

  • 39? (Score:4, Informative)

    by chromis (738106) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:30AM (#27225841) Homepage
    I always thought that the brain works best at 39 ;) http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/27/1630225 [slashdot.org]
  • "Things like memory stayed intact until the age of 37, on average"

    My memory's already pretty bad and I'm just 33. You mean it's going to get worse? Of course, most of my memory issues seem to stem from a lack of sleep. Two kids will do that to you. My other memory problems (not being able to link most faces with names unless I see the person *MANY* times) go way back.

  • Does that mean I can retire at 35?
  • The minimum age is 35.

    Just saying..

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by digitalgiblet (530309)

      For President I'll take age and experience over fast firing neurons any day. Up to a point...

  • is 27?

  • by mario_grgic (515333) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:52AM (#27226259)

    Considering that at 22 most people are fresh out of college and their brain still well exercised.

    After that they join the corporate slavery, where 5 years in cubes destroys their mind and numbs them down to the obedience level demanded by their PHBs, and corporate masters.

    A few more decades of that and they will be completely senile.

    Those who stay in academia on the other hand make their biggest achievements in late thirties (most at about 38).

    http://sps.nus.edu.sg/~limchuwe/articles/youth.html [nus.edu.sg]

  • Now I have serious Shuffleboard skillz.

  • Oh God! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:10AM (#27226567)
    I'm 40. Excuse me while I nip outside and shoot myself.
  • by crovira (10242) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:11AM (#27226583) Homepage

    we stop giving a fuck.

    Its like sex.

    In my teens I couldn't wait, It was all a mystery.

    In my twenties, I was into "The Selfish Gene" and "Spreading my Seed" far and wide.

    In my thirties and forties, I wanted a friend more than a fuck.

    In the middle fifties, I am coming to the conclusion that I was a hormonal idiot.

    It's taken years, decades, to come to the conclusion that I'd have been a more productive human being, though a worse coder/project lead/manager.

    In the end, hopefully years from now, its as a human being that I'd really want to be remembered.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:24AM (#27226819)

    If this is valid, I'd like to know what is the cause. Is it a physiological degradation or an psychological one?

    This is wild speculation, but people seem to remain fairly active before their 30s but there seems to be this crossover point where people tend to fall into a rut and tend to be resigned to their lives at that current state. From observing family, friends and myself this seems to be the case. Could that variety help provide inspiration and the sort of motivation that help people continue to grow?

    That said, I think that experience far outweighs anything else. I find myself solving problems and handling issues with far more easy and speed than at any time in the past. Work that I labored over in college for hours, if not days, I could now be done with within 30 minutes.

    This sort of thing certainly doesn't make it easier for job security. The last thing companies need is yet another excuse to dump older, more expensive employees.

  • by Bobb Sledd (307434) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:33AM (#27226997) Homepage

    I am not even going to dignify this the time it takes to read the article, it is patently wrong.

    I am 34, and I have never felt more quick, creative, and industrious as I am today. (And I can still whoop ass against guys half my age in on-line shooters.)

    The reason older people appear to take longer to make decisions and learn and create and recall memory is simply because our database is far more full and complex than the youngster's.

    When a youngster is taught to cross a one-way street, they look only the way traffic will be coming from.

    But an old-folk goes, "Ah, a one-way sign. Hmm, I've seen people run the wrong way before..." so they look both ways.

    When someone asks a youngster a question, they quickly run through their database in their mind and pick the answer (probably their only answer).

    But an old-person may have seen the question more than once in their lifetime, and has to pick through a larger network of data, and decide through possible multiple instances of the same data, and compound those memories into an answer.

    For example, ask a young person if eggs are good or bad for you. They'll think of the first aspect of eggs that they've heard, and tell you whether they're good or bad for you.

    But an old person has to think, "Hmmm... back in the 70's, doctors said they were good for you. Then they said they were bad. Then certain kinds. Oh, and they may be good for certain parts of the body, but maybe elevate cholesterol and high blood pressure. Does it interact with any medications?..."

    You get my point. It's an apples and oranges comparison he's trying to do.

    And what about filters? Young people have fewer filters on their brains than older people. When I was younger, I could bounce down a stairway and have no problems. Now I have this filter on my brain that says, "before you move any part of your body, look ahead to see if it will cause pain."

    Another filter is, when the wife says something that just sets herself up for a punchline, about 3 or 4 things drop down in my head that I *could* say. But which ones will get you in trouble? So I take longer to respond... and look slow.

    Here's another example of a filter you can even test: Play CS or any other on-line shooter game where you have two teams. Play once where team-killing is disabled (can't kill your own guys). Then, play one where you can accidently shoot your own team. Takes longer to decide to shoot, doesn't it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by turing_m (1030530)

      Interesting post - relating it to databases. From what I have read, IQ has two main components, gC and gF, standing for Crystallized and Fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is raw problem solving ability, crystallized intelligence is the database aspect you are referring to (tables, the data in the tables and the queries you have built up over the years). I guess fluid intelligence is more the ability to create the right tables, fill them up with good data, and creating meaningful queries.

      Fluid intellige

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:43AM (#27227153) Journal

    ...when many people are finishing University and the decline seems to start just when you'd probably finish grad school. ;)

    Now, if everyone tested had NOT attended a University in any fashion, it would be interesting to see the results.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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