People's mental powers could start declining from the age of 27, according to a study of 2,000 healthy adults (aged 18-60) by researchers at the University of Virginia. The participants were tested at the start of the study, and again seven years later, on their ability to solve puzzles, recall words and details from stories and identify patterns in collections of letters and symbols. Abstract reasoning, mental speed and puzzle-solving started to decline at 27 and dips in memory began around 37. However, most people continue to function at a high level in later years and vocabulary and general knowledge tend to increase as we get older - so there may still be hope for those of us on the wrong side of 35!
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