That’s among the findings of a new study that followed the thinking abilities of a group of Britons born in the 1940s. Researchers found that their performance on standard cognitive tests at age eight predicted their performance around age 70. People who scored in the top quarter as kids were likely to remain in that bracket later in life.
However, no one is saying that your brain-health destiny is set in childhood, according to senior researcher Dr Jonathan Schott, a professor of neurology at University College London. In this study, for example, education also mattered. Older adults who’d gone further in their formal education tended to score higher, regardless of their test performance as children.
It turned out that among participants who tested “cognitively normal”, about 18% did have signs of plaques in their brains. And on average, their test scores were lower, versus participants with no evidence of plaques.