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And what the researchers found is astounding. During the span of time that constitutes the modern middle age — roughly age forty through the sixties — the people in the study did better on tests of the most important and complex cognitive skills than the same group of people had when they were in their twenties. In four out of six of the categories tested — vocabulary, verbal memory, spatial orientation, and, perhaps most heartening of all, inductive reasoning — people performed best, on average
3. The brain does not lose millions of brain cells. For years, researchers thought our brains lost up to 30 percent of their neurons as we got older. That idea led science to largely ignore the brain as it aged. Why waste time researching something that was going to decay on a set schedule? Now, new studies show that while we can lose brain connections if they are unused, we keep most of our brain cells for as long as we live. This means that the quest to find real ways to maintain our brain cells is now being taken up in earnest.