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Postponing retirement could reap benefits for your brain health.

Postponing retirement could reap benefits for your brain health.

Though some people may eagerly be awaiting the day when they can walk away from their office job and enjoy the fruits of their labor during retirement, a new study conducted by a health research agency associated with the French government could provide grounds to delay that date. The Associated Press reports that the government institution INSERM​ has released the results of a large-scale investigation into employment and dementia, and the findings indicate that postponing retirement could be beneficial for brain health.

The project entailed reviewing health records from nearly half a million French individuals whose average age came to 74 years old. The majority of participants had worked as shopkeepers or in some form of trade, and had been retired for a mean period of 12 years.

Based on this analysis, study leader Carole Dufouil and her colleagues deduced that even delaying retirement by a year could have an impact on dementia risk, reducing the likelihood of cognitive decline by just over 3 percent.

This pattern held depending on how long certain individuals waited to retire, so that those who left work at age 65 were roughly 15 percent less likely to suffer from diminished brain health than people who did so at age 60, Dufouil explained at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston this week.

It's important to note, though, that it isn't necessarily employment itself, but the consistent mental and social activity many jobs can provide, that could be responsible for this finding. Previously, we've reviewed how simple acts like reading books and seeking out proper nutrition for the brain may also help boost memory retention.

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