Our brain growth peaks about age 26 where it weighs in at roughly 1450 grams or about 3.2 pounds.
Canadian scientists, John Philippe Rushton and D. Davison (Dave) Ankney , reviewed nearly 100 scientific cognition (brain function) studies and they site that by age 80, from our peak brain weight at around age 26, our brain looses 7.45% of its weight. This translates to brain weight loss of around .15% per year.
I don’t know about you but I’ll lose as much weight as possible on my hipped love handles but I need to keep all the brain cells I can. I don’t want to be giving up brain cells with a snap of a finger and I am sure you don’t either.
So if we lose this brain weight every year from age 26, do we lose brain function? Does our brain slowly decline, hindering our thought and performance? Is our intellect lessened every year?
Well…yes and no.
Hip hop doctorial students at Simon Fraser University2. in western Canada, Joe Thompson, Mark Blair, Lihan (he says it is pronounced Bill) Chen and Andrew Henrey, recently found that measurable declines in cognitive performance, begin to be seen at age 24, specifically cognitive motor functioning—the ability to think from a situation at hand and act accordingly in a timely manner. In other words, your brain speed reaction time peaks at age 24.
The study was actually a large social science analysis of 3300 players, age 16 to 44, of a real-time strategy development video game, StarCraftII. Of course, anyone can play a video game where you are constantly making numerous quick adjustments based on attention to detail not only for beating your opponent and winning, but also for survival.
The reasons this study is so significant is the matrix model created by the doctoral students to measure and quantify reaction time, multi tasking performance, stamina, engagement opportunity time, thought process management and spatial coordination (map viewing and other decision making) skills.
Athletic study after studies show, as does our TV, that an athlete’s speed and function—his cognitive motor abilities— peak in their 20s. Just ask superstars Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Deron Williams, Billy Jean King, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Steffi Graf, Nadia Comaneci, Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler. The list goes on and on. So these superstars and the 3,305 participants in the Simon Fraser University study tell us that our body’s speed reaction is at is at our best– peaks in our mid 20s.
Combine that with Rushton and Ankney’s review of nearly 100 studies, mentioned earlier. They found that not only do we begin to lose brain weight in our mid 20s but they also found that some of us begin to lose our speed reaction time in our mid 20s.
Well, age in the mid 20s wins…wins because our brain has the most speed and full weight when we are in our mid 20s.
Ok, but what about other brain functions? Stay tuned to our next posts as we explore when our brain is at its top performance for other functions, like memory and instant recall. Hint…it is well and way, way after our 20s!
Here’s to your good brain health!