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Protecting mental strengths through middle age

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'In Our Prime' by Patricia Cohen
Book cover courtesy of publisher

There are plenty of studies looking at early and late stages of life, but little is known about the middle phase. A unique study, Midlife in the United States, is broadly looking at health in middle age.

Unlike a typical health study, Midus looks at the impact of social factors on a person's well-being. Multiple related studies and research have spun off from initial Midus research and the scientific community is fascinated by all these connections. 

"What makes Midus particularly valuable is that researchers can track the same person over a long period, comparing the older self with the younger self to see which capabilities are declining and which are improving," wrote Patricia Cohen in The New York Times. "This approach has opened a new peephole into the middle-age brain."

Cohen will join The Daily Circuit Friday to talk more about the study. Carol Ryff, principal investigator at University of Wisconsin-Madison, will also join the discussion.

The Midus study began in 1995 and tracked participants' health -- physical and mental -- and noted how physical health was impacted by social circumstances. The study is now recruiting 2,000 new participants to continue and expand the research.