British scientists studied 1,320 people with dementia and looked at their past education, employment and retirement history.  Although there was no link with education or employment, the people who retired later developed dementia later.  It is thought the mental stimulation may help delay the effects of dementia or it may be that people who retire earlier do so for ill health which itself contributes to the development of dementia symptoms.  The study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found on average with every extra year of employment the age of onset of Alzheimer's Disease became 0.13 years later.  The Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London study, funded by the Alzheimer's Research Trust.  Prof Simon Lovestone, Scientific Adviser to the Alzheimer's Research Trust and the paper's co-author, said: "The intellectual stimulation that older people gain from the workplace may prevent a decline in mental abilities, thus keeping people above the threshold for dementia for longer. Much more research is needed if we are to understand how to effectively delay, or even prevent, dementia."  Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, which funded the study, said: "More people than ever retire later in life to avert financial hardship, but there may be a silver lining: lower dementia risk. Much more research into lifestyle factors is needed if we are to whittle down the £17 billion a year that dementia costs our economy." 

Source:  Telegraph (18 May 2009)
Full story:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5338518/Later-retirement-may-stave-off-dementia-say-researchers.html

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