Memory Loss and Aging

By Dr. Rick Tague

Brain Shrinkage and “Cognitive Decline”

Mental function, unfortunately, does deteriorate with age and is associated with the unpleasant reality of “brain shrinkage”.  Known in research studies as “cognitive decline”, this process is now known to begin at least by age 45.  In fact, research shows that reasoning ability declines 3.5% over the 10 years from our mid 40’s to mid 50’s.  And, it gets worse.  The decline increases to as much as 9.6% per 10 years in our 60’s.

Brain scans confirm that the brain normally shrinks 0.5% per year.  In Alzheimer’s, it shrinks 2.5% per year.  In those with the common form of mild cognitive decline, it appears to shrink about 1% per year.