Harvard Men's Health Watch

Medical memo: Age and performance

Medical memo

Age and performance

Whatever your politics, John McCain's energetic run for the presidency in 2008 shows that age is no barrier to success in the public arena. Still, it's impossible to deny that things change as men age. Among other things, reaction times, sensory-motor skills, and fine coordination tend to decline. At the same time, though, added years provide added experience.

Can experience, knowledge, and judgment compensate for subtle mental and motor changes? Two very different studies suggest that seniority does have its compensations.

Senior pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all commercial airline pilots to retire at age 65. However, general aviation pilots do not face a similar maximum flying age. Is it safe for older men to take command in the cockpit?

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