Opt for more challenging jobs in order to protect your brain from mental decline. This is what a recent study says which was published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology. According to the study, keeping one's brain active plays a significant role in maintaining mental health in old age. A team of experts from Heriot-Watt University and the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology in Edinburgh, Scotland, have found that people with jobs involving complex analysis and brain stimulation, may end up having better memory later in life.We spend a major part of our day at work, a lot depends on the quality of work that we engage in and the extent to which our mental functions are put to use every day. Complex jobs that require a lot of difficult analysis or social interaction such as management and teaching may protect the brain from mental decline."These results suggest that more stimulating work environments may help people retain their thinking skills, and that this might be observed years after they have retired," said study author Alan J Gow, from Heriot-Watt University and the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology in Edinburgh, Scotland."Our findings have helped to identify the kinds of job demands that preserve memory and thinking later on," said Gow.The team tested close to thousand elderly Scottish people with an average age of 70 years. The participants were tested for their memory and thinking abilities at the University of Edinburgh. Memory, processing speed and general thinking ability were few of the testing parameters. The experts looked at their job profiles and the result of their IQ scores that were gathered - in the Scottish Mental Survey in 1947 - when the participants were 11 year old. The study found that participants who held jobs with higher levels of complexity with data and people had better scores on memory and thinking tests.However, the research concluded that, overall, the effect of occupation was small, accounting for about 1 per cent to 2 per cent of the variance between people with jobs of high and low complexity. The study forms an association between a person's occupation with the level of cognitive health in old age, though there is a huge possibility of other lifestyle/environmental factors that come into play. Experts opine that their research is an attempt at understanding and analysing how our lifestyle and professional environment can affect or influence age-related memory loss.With inputs from PTI
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