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A decline in mental function is very common with passage of time. By the time we reach old age, most of us expect to have some level of cognitive impairment, such as trouble with memory and learning. Perhaps this doesn't have to be so, if vitamin C is in the picture. Australian researchers followed a group of 117 retired adults for four years. At the beginning of the study, vitamin C intake was assessed and cognitive function was tested four years later. After taking into account differences in age, gender, smoking, education, and medication use in the study participants, the results showed that "the consumption of vitamin C supplements was associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment." The researchers hypothesized that vitamin C supplements preserved the memories of these older folks since "antioxidant vitamins protect against free-radical oxidation, and free radicals might be involved in the etiology of the two major diseases that cause cognitive impairment in older people: Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia."