Four additional years of study in youth delayed the memory loss of the elderly by 20 years

The more time a person spends studying at a young age, the lower the risk of memory loss in old age - this conclusion was reached by experts from Georgetown University Medical Center (USA). More than 700 people between the ages of 58 and 98 took part in their study. The researchers compared data on the education of volunteers and their declarative memory - their ability to remember faces, names, events, and words.

Participants were shown images of subjects, and a few minutes later asked about the details of what they saw. At the same time, there was a natural tendency: the older the participant was, the worse his or her declarative memory indicators were. 

At the same time, the experts were able to reveal a clear correlation between the time spent by the participants in their youth on education and the rate of memory deterioration. This relationship was most clearly demonstrated by women. For example, for men, every year invested in education in youth slows down memory loss in old age by two years. At the same time, women had a memory ratio of five: the memory level of an 80-year-old lady with a bachelor's degree was the same as that of a 60-year-old woman with only secondary education. 

- Learning breeds learning," explains one of the authors of the study, Professor Michael Ullman of the Department of Neurology. - The more knowledge accumulated as a result of more intensive and prolonged education, the better the declarative memory works. It is easier to memorize information if it is related to already existing knowledge. 

June 5, 2020, 12:43 p.m.

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