Baby Boomers Score Lower On Cognitive Functioning

Aug 20, 2020 | aging, books, culture, Health, politics, Science, seniors, technology


Science & Technology Interview Series

Welcome to The Not Old Better Show. I’m Paul Vogelzang, and this is episode #470. Today’s show is brought to you by SunBasket Meals.

Many in our Not Old Better Show audience may have seen the headline: Baby boomers are experiencing a sharper drop in cognitive function as they age, relative to previous generations. The findings from the research, performed by our guest today, Dr. Hui Zheng, not only suggest that boomers will be more likely to develop conditions like dementia than past cohorts, but future aging generations may be at a similar heightened risk.

According to Dr. Zheng, “It is shocking to see this decline in cognitive functioning among baby boomers after generations of increases in test scores,” Dr. Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, goes on to say to us that what was most surprising is that this decline is seen in all groups: men and women, across all races and ethnicities and across all education, income and wealth levels.

In the research, Dr. Zheng also tried to account for age-related declines in cognition by looking only at the scores of people in their early 50s. But again, early baby boomers in their 50s on average had lower test scores than did people from earlier generations in that same age group. That likely means that whatever is causing this drop in cognition, the decline started becoming apparent by the time baby boomers were still middle-aged.

Cognitive functioning may continue declining among baby boomers if no effective interventions and policy responses are in place, which may cause the prevalence of dementia to substantially increase in the coming decades. But this is not an irreversible trend. Dr. Zheng suggests to us that everyone can strive for more physical activity, a healthy diet, and strong social bonds to lower their risk of cognitive decline later in life.

Please join me in welcoming to The Not Old Better Show, via internet phone, Dr. Hui Zheng.

My thanks to Dr. Hui Zheng for his thorough research and time today Please check out our list of resources in today’s show notes. My thanks to SunBasket for sponsoring today’s show, and my thanks always to you, my wonderful Not Old Better Show audience. Remember, stay safe everyone, practice smart social distancing, and Talk About Better. The Not Old Better Show. Thanks, everybody.

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