Early Adult General Cognitive Ability Strongly Predicts Mental Capacity Later In Life

general cognitive ability
General cognitive ability 

Early Adult General Cognitive Ability Strongly Predicts Mental Capacity Later In Life

On 21st January 2019, a study report was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) which shows that early adult general cognitive ability (GCA) is a strong predictor of cognitive function and reserve later in life compared to other factors, such as higher education, engaging in late-life intellectual activities or occupational complexity. GCA is a diverse set of skills involved in thinking, such as logic, reasoning, perception, and memory.

Higher education and delayed or late-life intellectual activities, such as reading, social communication or doing puzzles, all have been associated with a reduced risk of dementia and improved or sustained cognitive reserve. The cognitive reserve is the ability of the brain to find and improvise alternative methods to accomplish the task and can help people reunite for other changes related to aging. An international team of scientists led by the scientists of the University of California's San Diego School of Medicine addressed the "chicken or egg" planted by these associations. 

Does it help in maintaining cognitive abilities in a more complex job, for example, or people with more cognitive abilities are in more complex occupations?
Researchers evaluated more than 1,000 men attending the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging. Although all were legends, about 80 percent of the participants did not experience any boating experience. All men, now in the middle of the mid-50s to 60s, took the Armed Forces Eligibility Test at an average of 20 years of age. This test is a measure of GCA. 
As part of the study, researchers measured the performance of participants in the late midlife, using the same cognitive measures like the same GCA measurement, such as memory, logic, abstract reasoning, and verbal fluency or oral flow.

They found that at the age of 20, GCA had about 40 percent of the variance in the same measure at the age of 62, and about 10% of the variance in each of the seven cognitive domains. After accounting for GCA at the age of 20, the author concluded that other factors had very little effect. For example, in life,  higher education, the complexity of the task and engagement in intellectual activities, each one has less than 1% of average age in 62 years.

Dr. William S. Kremen, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California - San Diego School of Medicine and the first author of the study said in a statement "The results of the study show that the impact of higher education in commercial complexity and participation in cognitive activities on cognitive function of later life reflects the most likely adverse cause.In other words, they are the greatly downstream impact of young adult intellectual ability. The remaining cognitively active in later life is beneficial, but our results suggest we should see this from a lifespan perspective. Increasing cognitive reserve and reducing later life Cognitive decline may actually need to start with quality childhood and greater access to adolescent education."

In support of the idea, researchers found that age 20 general cognitive ability (GCA), but not education, it is correlated with the surface area of the cerebral cortex at the age of 62. The cerebral cortex out of the brain is a thin, and outer region (responsible for thinking, perceiving, creating and understanding language).

The authors emphasized that education is very important and can enhance the overall cognitive ability of a person and the consequences of life. Comparing their findings with other researchers, they estimated that the role of education in the growth of GCA primarily occurs during childhood and adolescence when the brain develops substantially. However, they said that with the initial adulthood, the impact of education on GCA ceases, although it continues to broaden other beneficial effects, such as knowledge and expertise.

Researchers said that additional investigations would be needed so that their findings can be fully confirmed as a study with cognitive testing at different times in childhood and in adolescence.

Story Source:
The University of California - San Diego. "Youthful cognitive ability strongly predicts mental capacity later in life.ScienceDaily, 21 January 2019.

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