If you're in your late 20s and your brain feels a little more sluggish than usual, don't blame your last late-night ANTM TiVo marathon. New research indicates that the cognitive decline once associated with old age begins much earlier than previously thought. It seems that brain function peaks around 22 years and begins to slowly shrink starting around 27 years. After 27 years, abstract reasoning, brain speed, and puzzle-solving all show signs of diminishing function, with the average memory decline beginning around 37 years. All is not lost though; vocabulary and general knowledge skills seem to increase until at least 60. Yay!
Just like you challenge your muscles to increase your strength, playing creative brain games like crossword puzzles and sudoku generates neuron growth and increases brain function. If Brain Age is your guilty pleasure, think of it as flexing your gray matter for exercise. Don't forget that aerobic exercise is good for the brain, too.