Stress: An Age Accelerator?

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Interviewer: Dr. Liu, as our population ages, can you talk about memory
loss and how much of an issue that is today?

Dr. Guosong Liu: Yeah. Actually, the memory loss is the big problem
associated with aging. Of course, an advanced form of memory problem is
Alzheimer's Disease. If you look at the population of Alzheimer's Disease
when you reach age 60, the chance of Alzheimer's is about 10 percent. So,
10 percent of population have Alzheimer's disease already.

When you reach 85 -- of course you have to be lucky to reach 85 -- the
chance of Alzheimer's Disease is 45 percent. That's an extremely high

Alzheimer's Disease is just an advanced form of memory system dysfunction.
But as we know, when we're getting old, you forget a word or your keys. You
always have some memory deficit.

One thing I'd like to share with you, and I'm surprised, actually, is our
memory capability function peaks at 25. Probably a lot of people probably
don't believe that, actually. It's almost like Michael Jordan retiring at
35, right? And his peak of physical performance is at 25.

So, you would be surprised to find that your brain function, your memory,
would peak at 25, then would start to decline after 25. Of course, your
experience will compensate for your loss of your computation capacity.

That's why when you're 60, you're fine because you have a lot of
experience. After, when you reach 70, this memory decline is really going
to affect your daily life.

Interviewer: If we peak at 25, do we know what some things are that might
accelerate memory loss? Why do people differ in that area?

Dr. Liu: So far, actually, based on my research and also a lot of other
people's research, we found... my opinion is that stress is the killer.
Stress really speeds up the aging. That's the number one reason.

Number two, obviously, is lack of exercise. Obviously. A no brainer. A
recent study showed that physical exercise is key to maintaining...
typically for people who carry out a lot of mental activity tend to have a
higher number of synapses. Their degeneration in aging will be slower.
Dr. Guosong Liu is an expert in memory loss and cognition. He discusses memory loss and how common conditions like Alzheimer's Disease are the more you age. He also cites stress as perhaps the main culprit in speeding up the aging process.

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