In a new study from the University of Padua, researchers found that work plays an active role in keeping our brains healthy.
They found the important role of working activity on cognitive performance.
Many studies have been focused on the factors influencing our brain aging and differences in cognitive decline have been often observed in association with education or other related to the quality of life.
This study showed that the type of work activity also contributes to the differences in normal and pathological cognitive aging.
In the study, the team examined the contribution of demographic factors (age and sex), comorbidity, education and occupation to the so-called cognitive reserve, that is brain’s resistance to damage caused by illness or aging.
Participants were assessed with a series of tests and subsequently divided into three types of profiles based on the results: people at risk of cognitive decline, people with mild decline and people with severe decline.
The tests were repeated twice a few years apart. Depending on whether they maintained or worsened their profile based on their initial performance, participants were classified as “resistant” or “declining.”
The team found that occupation is a good predictor of participants’ performance in addition to age and education, two factors that have been already studied.
The findings confirmed that education protects people from the risk of cognitive decline and that these individuals had held more complex occupations than the individuals of the other two groups.
Furthermore, the study showed how the “resistant” group has on average higher levels of education and more complex jobs than the “declining” group.
The results demonstrate the benefits of cognitive mobilization promoted by lifelong learning and that social connection, ongoing sense of purpose and ability to function independently largely affect cognitive health and general well-being along the trajectories of aging.
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The study is published in the European Journal of Neurology. One author of the study is Professor Raffaella Rumiati.
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