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People who work longer slow the deterioration of their brain, and could fend off Alzheimer’s 

Forgoing early retirement working into a person’s later years could help boost their cognition and critical thinking skills, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Germany‘s Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science found that working up to the age of 67, when most Americans retire, slows their cognitive decline and can help against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other diseases that can negatively impact a person’s cognitive functions.

Remarkably, the findings show that a person will benefit working longer, regardless of their gender, education level or level of job complexity.

‘Our study suggests that there may be a fortuitous unintended consequence of postponed retirement,’ the study’s co-author, Angelo Lorenti, said in a statement

Lorenti continued: ‘In this study, we approach retirement and cognitive function from the perspective that they both come near the end of a long path of life.

Working past retirement age could help against cognitive decline, according to a new study

The researchers did find that people with more complex jobs do see a slightly slower decline than those with less complex jobs. 

Remarkably, the findings show that a person will benefit working longer, regardless of their gender, education level or level of job complexity

Remarkably, the findings show that a person will benefit working longer, regardless of their gender, education level or level of job complexity

'... Ethnicity, gender, and early-life social and economic status, goes on with educational and occupational attainment and health behaviors, and goes all the way up to more proximate factors such as partnership status and mental and physical health,' the study's co-author, Angelo Lorenti, said

‘… Ethnicity, gender, and early-life social and economic status, goes on with educational and occupational attainment and health behaviors, and goes all the way up to more proximate factors such as partnership status and mental and physical health,’ the study’s co-author, Angelo Lorenti, said

The researchers did find that people with more complex jobs do see a slower decline than those with less complex jobs

The researchers did find that people with more complex jobs do see a slower decline than those with less complex jobs

‘It begins with one’s social origins in ethnicity, gender, and early-life social and economic status, goes on with educational and occupational attainment and health behaviors, and goes all the way up to more proximate factors such as partnership status and mental and physical health. 

‘All these kinds of factors accumulate and interact over a lifetime to affect both cognitive function and age at retirement.’ 

A separate study from researchers at Georgetown’s University Medical Center recently found that certain mental skills, including multitasking and prioritization, improve after the age of 50. 

The researchers looked at observations from 20,469 individuals between the ages of 55 and 75 who were part of the U.S. workforce between 1996 and 2014.

Lorenti added that there is no change between social and labor market dynamics, adding that many countries around the world have increased the retirement age.  

The concern is for an aging global population, given that dementia rates tend to increase as people get over.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that’s projected to rise to 13 million by 2050. 

Globally, that figure is at least 50 million and could exceed 150 million by 2050 if breakthroughs are not discovered, according to Bright Focus

‘That is why it is relevant to understand if retiring at older ages may have health consequences, particularly on cognitive function,’ Lorenti explained.

The US Census Bureau predicts that, by 2035, there will be 77 million Americans 65 and older, outnumbering the 76.5 million children ages 18 and under.

Germany, Italy, France, Spain and other European countries already have older populations, while in Japan, considered a super-aged society, more than one in four people are 65 or older.   

The study was recently published in SSM – Population Health.  

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