Later retirement diminishes risk of dementia

A very large study of self-employed people revealed that those who retired later had a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia. The study also discovered that the risk of being diagnosed with dementia went down for each year of working longer.

The study seems to confirm earlier research that suggests lifelong mental stimulation and challenge may protect against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The data also revealed strong evidence of a significant decline in the risk of developing dementia linked with older age at retirement, in line with the ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis.

The researchers used health and insurance databases of self-employed people who were living and had been retired for an average of 12 years by the end of 2010. The rate of diagnosed dementia in this group was 2.65%, according to the researchers. They also discovered that workers who retired at 65 years of age had a 14% lower rate of Alzheimer’s diagnoses than those who retired at age 60.

The results also showed that for each year retirement was delayed; there was an increased delay in the presence of Alzheimer’s. Dementia, which influences mainly people over 60, is a disease where mental ability decreases usually slowly, deterioration of personality, thinking and judgment, and leading to impairment of memory.

The study also found that brain power in older people at risk for vascular dementia appears to improve more from a Mediterranean diet with added mixed nuts or extra virgin olive oil than from a low-fat diet that is typically directed for precluding heart attack and stroke.

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