has an article about a study that shows a relationship between the
amount of eduction a person has, and how rapidly memory loss occurs
when they get senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT).
The more education a person has, the faster the memory loss
occurs. ( href="http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/564996">Higher
Education Delays Dementia Onset but Is Linked to More Rapid Progression,
free registration required)
At first this seems counterintuitive. But think about it.
of memory, I remember when I was in college, there was a newspaper
article about a kid who did a science project on the freezing of water.
He showed that hot water freezes faster than cold water.
To understand, in case it is not obvious, think of
it this way: If you put water in a freezer, the rate at which
water cools is determined primarily by the surface area and the
temperature difference (gradient). All other things being
hotter water will lose more heat per second than cold water will.
That is what is meant by the phrase “freezes faster:” more
heat is lost per second. But the hot water has
farther to go before it actually freezes. So even
though the rate of freezing is higher, it
takes longer to freeze. The hot water has to lose
more heat in order to freeze, so even though the rate is higher, the
time required is also higher. Even thought the process occurs
at a higher rate, it still takes longer.
So there really is nothing to worry about if you have many years of
post-high-school education. It does not mean that you will
get dementia sooner, just that it occurs faster.
Indeed, the same study showed that, on average, more education is
correlated with a greater delay in onset.