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Boomers are experiencing history’s worst cognitive decline, study finds

A recent study has found that baby boomers have worse cognitive decline than any other previous generation, which is more concerning than you’d think.

This month, a new study from Ohio State University has revealed that Baby Boomers are experiencing worse cognitive decline than any previous generation.

Whilst we may giggle about the generation that brought us the first wave of Karens, climate change deniers, and anti-maskers having unparalleled cognitive decline, at the heart it’s quite a serious issue.

Boomers, Baby Boomers, Friends, Jack Geller, Judy Geller

Cognitive decline is the driving force behind diagnoses like dementia, alzheimers, psychosis, and motor-skill disorder, meaning it leads to an individual’s experience of worsening motor coordination, speech functioning, memory, and behaviour impediments. These symptoms severely impact an individual’s everyday capacity to communicate, concentrate and use their physicality. 

The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, found that despite people being born between 1948 and 1959 having led easier lives with increased education, access to healthcare and job prospects, the average cognition scores of over 30,000 adults older than 50 were lower than previous generations.

Hui Zheng, the study’s lead author, and a professor of Sociology at Ohio State University explained that this decline “is seen in all groups: men and women, across all races and ethnicities and across all education, income and wealth levels” and that “if it weren’t for their better childhood health, more favourable family backgrounds, more years of education and higher likelihood of having a white-collar occupation, baby boomers would have even worse cognitive functioning.”

Some of the reasons that have been posited are the high levels of self-reported loneliness and depression as well as a lack of physical activity and higher rates of obesity. Zheng also attributed the findings to “the problems of modern life” which include heavier reliance on technology, cars, and fast food.

If there are no effective interventions or policy responses, then it seems that a continual decline across new generations is possible as well. Stay sharp out there, friends!