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Older people experienced 6 years of memory decline during lockdown

PHOTO: Getty

By Saskia Hicking | 10 November 2021

NATIONAL HEALTH EXECUTIVE — A study carried out by Exeter University and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London has found that older people who were anxious and showing depressive symptoms during the first year of COVID lockdowns had a decline in their short-term memory equating to 6 years of natural ageing.

Nearly 6,500 people over 50 took part in the study which consisted of a series of lifestyle questions and exercises to help the researchers understand how healthy brains age and  the reasons for some people developing dementia and over cognitive-related diseases.

Participants aged over 50 who reported an increased feeling of anxiety and depression scored lower on cognitive tasks. These tasks are used to measure short term memory and attention and showed that the decrease for those participants was equal to the cognitive decline usually seen over six years of natural ageing.

More than 850,000 people suffer from dementia in the U.K., meaning one in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia. […]

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