Friday, July 19, 2013
Later retirement helps prevent dementia, French study finds
Hasn't it occurred to anyone that earlier retirement might be brought about by dementia? That would be the most parsimonious explanation of the findings below
NEW research boosts the "use it or lose it" theory about brainpower and staying mentally sharp. People who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, a study of nearly half a million people in France found.
It's by far the largest study to look at this, and researchers say the conclusion makes sense. Working tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged - all things known to help prevent mental decline.
"For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 per cent," said Carole Dufouil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government's health research agency.
She led the study and gave results today at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston.
About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. What causes the mind-robbing disease isn't known and there is no cure or any treatments that slow its progression.
France has had some of the best Alzheimer's research in the world, partly because its former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made it a priority. The country also has detailed health records on self-employed people who pay into a Medicare-like health system.
Researchers used these records on more than 429,000 workers, most of whom were shopkeepers or craftsmen such as bakers and woodworkers. They were 74 on average and had been retired for an average of 12 years.
Nearly 3 per cent had developed dementia but the risk of this was lower for each year of age at retirement. Someone who retired at 65 had about a 15 per cent lower risk of developing dementia compared to someone retiring at 60, after other factors that affect those odds were taken into account, Ms Dufouil said.
To rule out the possibility that mental decline may have led people to retire earlier, researchers did analyses that eliminated people who developed dementia within 5 years of retirement, and within 10 years of it.
"The trend is exactly the same," suggesting that work was having an effect on cognition, not the other way around, Ms Dufouil said.
France mandates retirement in various jobs - civil servants must retire by 65, she said. The new study suggests "people should work as long as they want" because it may have health benefits, she said.
June Springer, who just turned 90, thinks it does. She was hired as a full-time receptionist at Caffi Plumbing & Heating in Alexandria, Virginia, eight years ago.
"I'd like to give credit to the company for hiring me at that age," she said. "It's a joy to work, being with people and keeping up with current events. I love doing what I do. As long as God grants me the brain to use I'll take it every day."
Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the US Alzheimer's Association, said the study results don't mean everyone needs to delay retirement.
"It's more staying cognitively active, staying socially active, continue to be engaged in whatever it is that's enjoyable to you" that's important, she said.
"My parents are retired but they're busier than ever. They're taking classes at their local university, they're continuing to attend lectures and they're continuing to stay cognitively engaged and socially engaged in their lives."
It’s a mad world: Rotten Apple edition
By Rick Manning
In case the NY city elections are not special enough, New York’s current wacky, billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg is back at it. Still smarting from his large soda ban going by the wayside, Bloomberg signed an edict demanding that every resident of the City compost their waste.
Yes, keeping your smelly coffee grinds, egg shells, banana peels and food scraps in a container to decompose for a long period of time is now required in the City. Even composters think this idea is nuts.
The Washington Times quotes Jeff Stier, the New York City-based director of risk analysis for the National Center for Public Policy Research, a composting supporter as saying, “…we live in a big city, not on a farm, and while composting is a great idea in certain circumstances, it doesn’t make sense to mandate that all New York residents save their rotting food,” he says. “Consider the increased risks from disease-carrying vermin, a problem the city still hasn’t conquered, from all of the pre-compost material sitting around our dense living spaces.”
Considering the rats that New York City voters are likely to elect to local office in the months ahead, why is anyone surprised that the current Mayor wants New Yorkers to save their rotten apples unfazed by the likelihood of attracting the four legged kind?
Ole’ Blues Eyes would be weeping if he could see the City that never sleeps now.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:14 AM