But apparently the prognosis is not so grim for those in Ph.D.-land to bail,
Study director Eileen Crimmins of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology says she wouldn't recommend halting any schooling based on the results.I would wager quite a few moon pies (which are, apparently, a delicious treat favored in these parts and a likely topic for a future blog) that the memory loss starts well before 70. I think they should take a bunch of rookie grad students, test their memory at their matriculation and then again after they defend and I bet the results would be the same.
In fact, there is one study that could come in extremely useful: "I am soooo sorry I forgot to (insert chore/task/drudgery here), but as you know, Alley et al. (2007) has demonstrated that my numerous years in school have impaired my memory such that I cannot be held accountable." I am pretty sure Fannie Mae will go for that, or maybe at least the phone company.
I do wonder if the real root of this problem is either the prolonged sleep deprivation or increased consumption of cheap libations experienced by grad students. Probably both!
One thing I don't understand is the data came from Asset and Health Dynamics of the Oldest Old, a project that uses the acronym A.H.E.A.D. .... wait a minute..... there's a few letters missing there. I guess if you are going to be calling your subjects the "Oldest Old", then using a nicer acronym than A.H.D.O.O. is the least you can do.