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Brain Firing NeuronsMen­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing jobs keep your mind sharp post-retire­ment (Tech Times):

If you want to stay sharp in your gold­en years, it’s best to get the hard yards in ear­ly — a new study has found that peo­ple with men­tal­ly demand­ing jobs fare bet­ter in the years after retirement.…Mental acu­ity and mem­o­ry reten­tion was found to be high­er in retirees who had spent their careers in men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing roles, such as for­mer physi­cians, air traf­fic con­trollers, and finan­cial ana­lysts. “Work­ing in a job that involves a lot of think­ing, ana­lyz­ing, prob­lem solv­ing, cre­ativ­i­ty, and oth­er com­plex men­tal pro­cess­ing is relat­ed to high­er lev­els of cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing not only before retire­ment (while we are still work­ing) but after retire­ment as well,” said lead author Gwenith G. Fish­er in an email to Reuters Health.”

Study: Men­tal Work Demands, Retire­ment, and Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Tra­jec­to­ries of Cog­ni­tive Func­tion­ing. (Jour­nal of Occu­pa­tion­al Health Psy­chol­o­gy)

  • Abstract: Age-relat­ed changes in cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties are well-doc­u­ment­ed, and a very impor­tant indi­ca­tor of health, func­tion­ing, and decline in lat­er life. How­ev­er, less is known about the course of cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing before and after retire­ment and specif­i­cal­ly whether job char­ac­ter­is­tics dur­ing one’s time of employ­ment (i.e., high­er vs. low­er lev­els of men­tal work demands) mod­er­ate how cog­ni­tion changes both before and after the tran­si­tion to retire­ment. We used data from n = 4,182 (50% women) indi­vid­u­als in the Health and Retire­ment Study, a nation­al­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive pan­el study in the Unit­ed States, across an 18 year time span (1992–2010). Data were linked to the O*NET occu­pa­tion codes to gath­er infor­ma­tion about men­tal job demands to exam­ine whether job char­ac­ter­is­tics dur­ing one’s time of employ­ment mod­er­ates lev­el and rate of change in cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing (episod­ic mem­o­ry and men­tal sta­tus) both before and after retire­ment. Results indi­cat­ed that work­ing in an occu­pa­tion char­ac­ter­ized by high­er lev­els of men­tal demands was asso­ci­at­ed with high­er lev­els of cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing before retire­ment, and a slow­er rate of cog­ni­tive decline after retire­ment. We con­trolled for a num­ber of impor­tant covari­ates, includ­ing socioe­co­nom­ic (edu­ca­tion and income), demo­graph­ic, and health vari­ables.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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