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Keep mentally active to avoid dementia

Keeping the brain active by working later in life may be an effective way to ward off Alzheimer's disease, research suggests. Researchers analysed data from 1,320 dementia patients, including 382 men, found that for the men, continuing to work late in life helped keep the brain sharp enough to delay dementia taking hold.

More people than ever retire later in life to avert financial hardship, but there may be a silver lining Around 700,000 people in the UK currently have dementia and experts have estimated that by 2051, the number could stand at 1.7m.

Dementia is caused by the mass loss of cells in the brain, and experts believe one way to guard against it is to build up as many connections between cells as possible by being mentally active throughout life.

There is evidence to suggest a good education is associated with a reduced dementia risk.

And the latest study carried out by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, suggests there can also be a positive effect of mental stimulation continued into our later years.

Those people who retired late developed Alzheimer's at a later stage than those who opted not to work on. Each additional year of employment was associated with around a six week later age of onset.

The researchers also admit that the nature of retirement is changing, and that for some people it may now be as intellectually stimulating as work.


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