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Study: People May Be Losing Key Brain Function Earlier
Updated May 1, 2014 7:28 AM | Filed under: Science
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(UNDATED) - New research shows that you may be losing a key brain function much earlier in your life than you thought.

The study from researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada shows that people may hit their cognitive skills peak around the age of 24.

The study looked at the performance of more than 3,000 people between the ages of 16 and 44 who played a video game called StarCraft 2.

After age 24, the players began to show a drop in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance in the game.

"In other words, how quickly can you process cognitive information and make quick decisions that also engage some motor component to that," said Dr. Jon Thompson, neuropsychologist at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

A good analogy, Thompson says, is a Major League Baseball player.

"In terms of productivity, you tend to see they are at their best between 25 and 30. But it's pretty uncommon to have the bat speed, the hand-eye coordination, that processing speed they need to be successful after the age of 35 to 40," Thompson said.

The older gamers looked at in the study did not necessary lose scoring ability, even though their cognitive function dropped.

"Even though the primed area may start declining earlier than we thought, we know that other areas of the brain may pick up the slack. There may not be that big of a functional decline we're going to see in the real world."

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