Brain teaser tasks keeps dementia at bay
Brain Teaser Tasks Keeps Dementia At Bay. A new study has revealed that challenging work tasks may have an upside for the brain.
The study found that professionals whose jobs require more speaking, developing strategies, conflict resolution and managerial tasks may experience better protection against memory and thinking decline in old age than their co-workers.
University of Leipzig's Francisca S. Then said that the study is important because it suggests that the type of work you do throughout your career may have even more significance on your brain health than your education does, adding that education is a well-known factor that influences dementia risk.
For the study, 1,054 people over the age of 75 were given tests that measured their memory and thinking abilities every one-and-a-half years for eight years.
The researchers also asked the participants about their work history and categorized the tasks they completed into three groups: executive, verbal and fluid. Examples of executive tasks are scheduling work and activities, developing strategies and resolving conflicts. Examples of verbal tasks are evaluating and interpreting information and fluid tasks were considered to be those which included selective attention and analyzing data.
Memory and thinking abilities were examined through a clinical test, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). In this clinical test, a small decline in points can indicate a clinically relevant deficit.
The study found that people whose careers included the highest level of all three types of tasks scored highest on the thinking and memory tests by two MMSE points over people with the lowest level. People with the highest level of all three types of tasks also had the slowest rate of cognitive decline.
Over eight years, their rate of decline was half the rate of participants with a low level of mentally demanding work tasks. Among the three types of work tasks, high levels of executive and verbal tasks were distinctively associated with slower rates of memory and thinking decline.
Then concluded that challenges at work may indeed be a positive element, if they build up a person's mental reserve in the long-term.
The study is published online in Neurology.