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Last updated at 16:53 BST, Monday, 18 May 2009

Working protects against dementia

Summary

25 May 2009

A new study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry suggests that carrying on working into old age, rather than occupation or education, can help protect against dementia.

Reporter:
Adam Brimelow

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The study looked at nearly 400 men who developed Alzheimer's disease. It assessed the time they spent in full-time education, the type of work they did and the point at which they retired.

The researchers detected no link between the onset of dementia and education or occupation. But they found that every extra year at work was associated with a six week delay in Alzheimer's. They say this points to the value of keeping the brain active by working.

They also acknowledge that the nature of retirement is changing, and for some people it may be as intellectually stimulating as working. The Alzheimer's Research Trust, which funded the study, says more people than ever retire later in life to avert financial hardship, but there may be a silver lining: lower dementia risk. However it says much more research is needed in order to understand how to delay or prevent dementia.

Adam Brimelow, BBC News

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Vocabulary

developed
began to suffer from
assessed
examined/studied and then came to conclusions about
detected no link
found no connection
the onset of
the moment at which something unpleasant begins
dementia
when the functions of the brain become progressively worse
was associated with
here, caused, was connected with
points to the value of
shows that something - here, working - is good
the nature of retirement is changing
people who no longer work because of old age spend their time differently than old people did in the past (e.g. they travel more, do more physical and mental activities etc.)
intellectually stimulating
making the brain work
a silver lining
a benefit (comes from the proverb 'every cloud has a silver lining', meaning there is a positive side to everything, even to bad things)

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