How an early retirement can accelerate & # 39; dementia & # 39 ;: scientists find quitting work before turning 60 & # 39; accelerates cognitive decline and memory loss & # 39;
- New York scientists say it is caused by a lack of mental stimulation when they retire
- Retirement is usually also accompanied by less interaction with other people
- This has also been associated with cognitive decline and disease development
Many of us dream of early retirement when we can finally book and switch off that one-time vacation.
But younger retirees are more likely to develop dementia than those who work into old age, research suggests.
Scientists found quitting work before the age of 60 accelerated cognitive decline and suppressed memory in later life – properties of memory predisposition.
They believe it is caused by a lack of mental stimulation that employees experience during the working day.
New York scientists have discovered that younger retirees experience accelerated cognitive decline and poorer memory in later life (file image)
Retirement is usually also accompanied by a decrease in social activities and less interaction with people, which is also linked to cognitive decline, the researchers say.
It is believed that social isolation can also lead a person to lead an unhealthy lifestyle that is thought to increase the risk of memory theft.
The cause of dementia remains unknown, but the evidence is increasing rapidly that social interaction, mental stimulation, a healthy diet and exercise can all reduce the risk.
The team of academics from the University of Binghampton in New York analyzed more than 17,500 individuals as part of China & # 39; s Retirement Longitudinal Survey (CHARLS).
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a series of progressive neurological disorders, that is, disorders affecting the brain.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience his dementia in his own unique way.
Dementia is a global problem, but it is most often seen in richer countries, where people are likely to live to very old ages.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer's & # 39; s Society reports that there are more than 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, more than 500,000 of whom have Alzheimer's.
It is estimated that by 2025 the number of people with dementia in the UK will increase to more than 1 million.
In the US there are an estimated 5.5 million people with Alzheimer's. A comparable percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow their progress and the sooner it is noticed, the more effective are treatments.
CHARLS is a national survey among people over 60 from more than 30 provinces that tests participants on mental cognition, memory and general well-being.
It includes a mix of retired people and people who still work in 150 districts in the Asian country.
They discovered that people who received retirement benefits experienced a much faster mental decline than those who are still employed.
Memory was the most prominent indicator of mental decline in pensioners.
Retired people performed nearly 20 percent worse in all memory tests than those who were still employed.
Study author Plamen Nikolov, assistant professor of economics at Binghampton, said: & # 39; For cognition in the elderly, the negative effect on social involvement seems to outweigh the positive effect of the program on nutrition and sleep.
& # 39; Or else, the kind of things that matter and determine better health can just be very different from the things that matter for better cognition in the elderly.
& # 39; Social engagement and connectedness are perhaps the most powerful factors for cognitive performance in old age. & # 39;
Professor Nikolov believes that the trend is not limited to China and is probably the case in the US, the UK and Europe.
The team hopes that their findings will encourage retirees to plan more social opportunities and to keep themselves stimulated during post-work life.
Dementia affects approximately 850,000 people in the UK – a figure that is expected to rise to two million in 2050. An estimated 5.7 million people with dementia are affected in the US.
Because there is no cure in sight, more and more attention is being paid to identifying those who are most at risk of taking preventive measures.
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