Research Spotlight - Fall 2011

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Cognitive decline in the elderly: an analysis of population heterogeneity

Duke Investigator: Kathleen Hayden, PhD

In September 2011, the journal Age and Ageing published a paper examining cognitive decline in the elderly. The research, led by Duke’s Kathleen Hayden, PhD, concluded that most people demonstrated a very slow cognitive decline, and that cognitive changes associated with aging may be in fact very minimal. Dr. Hayden’s research challenges the notion of memory loss or “senior moments” associated with growing older may not be as common as previously thought.

“This is a very positive finding,” Dr. Hayden told the Herald-Sun. “It means that when people grow older and do notice decline of some sort, they should have it checked out. It’s not inevitable and if the cause can be identified, it can be treated.”

WRAL-TV, Duke study shows age does not necessarily lead to memory decline
USA Today, 'Senior moments' less common than perception
The Herald-Sun, More than just a ‘senior moment’ isn’t normal