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article imageStudy: Later retirement can lower the risk of dementia

By Jonathan Lam     Jul 15, 2013 in Science
Boston - Working tends to keep people's brains active. A study reinforces that idea that if people keep using their brains, it might be able to prevent dementia.
A study of nearly half a million people in France found that using a person's brain power daily can keep their thinking sharp and prevent the developing of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Researchers says that this study makes sense because working tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged. These are all things known to help prevent mental decline.
Carole Dufouil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government's health research agency says, "For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent." Dufouil led the study and gave results Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston.
France's former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made Alzheimer's's research a top priority. The country also has detailed health records on self-employed people who pay into a Medicare-like health system. Researchers used these records on more than 429,000 workers, most of whom were shopkeepers or craftsmen such as bakers and woodworkers. They were 74 on average and had been retired for an average of 12 years.
Nearly 3 percent had developed dementia but the risk of this was lower for each year of age at retirement. Someone who retired at 65 had about a 15 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared to someone retiring at 60, after other factors that affect those odds were taken into account, Dufouil said.
Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association, said the study results don't mean everyone needs to delay retirement.
Snyder claims, "It's more staying cognitively active, staying socially active, continue to be engaged in whatever it is that's enjoyable to you."
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