A new study out of Colorado State University has found that physical stress in one’s job may be associated with faster brain aging and poorer memory.
Aga Burzynska, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and her research team connected occupational survey responses with brain-imaging data from 99 cognitively normal older adults, age 60 to 79. They found that those who reported high levels of physical stress in their most recent job had smaller volumes in the hippocampus and performed poorer on memory tasks. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is critical for memory and is affected in both normal aging and in dementia.
“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 [Read more…] about Want to train your brain? Work as a physician, air traffic controller, financial analyst (or similar)
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There is one type of “brain fitness program” which is not only free but also pays you back. You guessed it, that program is your “job”. Our occupations can provide beneficial mental exercise if they incorporate the key ingredients of novelty, variety, and challenge, and are not a source of chronic stress.
We start today’s newsletter with two articles related to the brain value of having mentally stimulating jobs.
Your Brain At Work
ABC Reporter Bob Woodruff’s Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury: Former US presidential contender and Senator John Edwards recently granted an interview to reporter Bob Woodruff. The most remarkable aspect of the interview? Bob Woodruff’s spectacular recovery from the traumatic brain injury he suffered in Iraq 2 years ago. You can’t miss this interview with his wife Lee, where we discuss Bob’s recovery process (including making a documentary, co-writing a book and other projects at ABC), the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and the overall challenge of cognitive rehabilitation following traumatic brain injuries.
Santiago Ramon y Cajal’s “Recollections of My Life”: Remarkable and candid views on neuroplasticity, learning, aging and life, straight from the autobiography of one of the founders of modern neuroscience, who once said “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain.”
Can food improve brain health?: Dr. Pascale Michelon provides an overview of the effects of food on the brain, building on Fernando Gomez-Pinilla’s recent study in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Candidates for “brainy” foods contain: Omega‑3 fatty acid, folic acid, flavonoids, anti-oxidant foods. Please note her warning, though: most of the studies showing positive effects have been conducted in mice.
The biology of aging: A monthly virtual gathering of bloggers to discuss Biology of Aging topics including research, policy, lifestyle guidance, and open questions. We are aware that “aging” may not be the sexiest of words in our vocabulary… unless you consider the most common alternative.
The Future of Computer-assisted Cognitive Therapy: Cognitive therapy is one of the most researched types of brain training, especially in dealing with depression and anxiety. Why don’t more people benefit today from it? The lack of a scalable distribution model may perhaps explain that. We predict that technology will help complement the role of therapists, helping more people better cope with change, life, anxiety, and a range of cognitive and emotional challenges. Without any stigma. Just as naturally as one trains abdominal muscles today.
We just received these two very thought-provoking essays on Alzheimer’s Disease and brain health, as part of a writing workshop, led by Susan Hill in Lakeland, Florida, with a group of grade 9–11 homeschoolers.
Without further ado, here you are both Essays:
Essay A. Preventing Alzheimer’s at Work
– By Josh H
5,000,000: that is the number of people in the United States alone who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that those who held jobs such as sanitation workers or trash collectors in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than people who held jobs such as doctors or scientists at the same age. If everyone knew this, the world would benefit, and it could impact the lives of everyone.
Fun quick article, titled Review: Latest Brain-Teasing Video Games, on Brain Training, “Nintendo Brain Age”, “Big Brain Academy”, “Hot Brain”, “Brain Boost”, “Brain Genius”, “Brain Juice”, “Brain Challenge”, “Mind Quiz”…