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Not a phrase you may be familiar with, but as you age a phrase you unfortunately might become more familiar with.

What is cognition?

Per Oxford dictionary: "The mental act of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses".

A term for the mental processes that occur in your brain, including thinking, paying attention, learning and memory. In fact, it is many processes that together allow us to function as a healthy adult.

5 Cognition skills

5 cognitive skills

  1. Reading
  2. Learning
  3. Remembering
  4. Logical reasoning
  5. Paying attention

Symptoms of cognitive decline

  • Trouble following a conversation.
  • Decision making
  • Poor judgement
  • Problems navigating familiar places.
  • Harder to follow instructions.
  • Difficulty concentrating
Cognitive decline

Avoiding cognitive decline

Decline will vary by individual, and some studies have shown 60% of general cognitive ability can be attributed to genetics. Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle can help prevent age associated cognitive decline and dementia.

Brain fog is a symptom of cognitive decline which can happen as we age. Brain fog is also a common issue post COVID, brain fog is an umbrella term of for short-term memory loss, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.

Activities associated with high cognitive function in order adults include puzzles, discussion groups, board games, musical instruments, highly complex careers and higher educational attainment.

Physical activities included exercise that improve cardiovascular health, gardening and dancing.

Social engagement included travel, cultural events and socialising with friends and family.

Impact of aging (1)

Normal age process of decline is associated with decreased processing speed and certain memory and spatial abilities. Research has identified declines in grey and white matter volume and declines in neurotransmitter levels that may contribute to cognitive decline. Other causes, specifically of brain fog can include lack of sleep, anxiety, stress, poor nutrition and other medical conditions.

Decline starts around the age of 30. and is initially subtle. Studies (2) show evidence of predictable and reproductible changes in cognition that occur with normal aging for example hearing. Most impacted are tasks requiring selective divided attention. Selective attention is selecting 1 of many tasks to focus on, and divided attention is focussing on many tasks. Also learning abilities and a memory decline.

What is good is that some aspects do not decline and remain stable for example language and verbal reasoning. 

Processing speed and sensory perception decline with age after 30.


The bottom line is that cognitive decline with age is a thing. 

What can we do about it?

Growing evidence that the following can improve the dynamic balance toward neuroplasticity and away from neuro-degradation. This means however:

  • healthy diet
  • healthy lifestyle
  • avoiding excessive alcohol
  • exercising regularly
  • participating in stimulating cognitive activities
  • managing emotional stress
  • managing medical problems like diabetes of depression
Slow cognitive decline


So, what's important to you. If cognition is, then take serious note of the above!


Disclaimer: The information provided by Old Bull Health in this article is for informational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice. Our content is not intended to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and thus reliance should not be placed on it. If you are experiencing persistent brain fog or cognitive challenges, please consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying causes and appropriate solutions.

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