Older adults in America are mentally stronger than their English counterparts shows a new study.
The research team from Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan examined the cognitive function of 8,299 Americans with 5,276 British seniors aged 65 and older and found that US seniors performed significantly better that their English counterparts.
The survey showed that on a population level, the overall difference in cognitive performance between the two countries was quite large and amounted to a decade of aging.
The cognitive performance of 75-year-olds in the US was as good, on average, as that of 65-year-olds in England.
During the study, the participants took tests of immediate and delayed recall of 10 common nouns including hotel, river, tree, skin, gold, village, baby and table.
Then they completed other survey questions and five minutes later, were asked to repeat as many of the words as possible. During the interview participants were also asked what day, date, month and year it was.
Taken together, their answers (10 points for immediate recall, 10 for delayed recall and four for orientation) made up a 24-point scale of cognitive function.
While comparing the scores, the researchers found that the mean score for the combined cognitive scale was 12.5 (out of 24) for the youngest group of English adults (ages 65-74) and 8.3 for the oldest group (age 85 and older).
The mean scores for the youngest and oldest groups in the U.S. were 13.8 and 10.1, respectively.
Moreover, U.S. adults reported significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms than English adults.
"While we in England may not like the results of this study, there are important lessons to be gleaned regarding the differences in lifestyle and the treatment of cardiovascular diseases between the US and England," said researchers Dr. Iain Lang, from Peninsula Medical School.
"Given the good results achieved by the American oldest-old, we can hypothesis that the more aggressive diagnosis and treatment of hypertension and possibly other cardiovascular risks that occurs in the US, may lead to less cognitive decline.
"US citizens tend to retire later than those in England, and this too can have an effect on cognitive performance, there may be a connection between early retirement and the early onset of cognitive decline," Lang added.