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Work Hard, Think Hard: A Tough Job May Help Preserve Your Mental Ability

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Climbing the career ladder satisfies your ambition, but it may also decrease your chances of mental decline during your twilight years.

A newly published study investigated the connection between the kind of work people do and their mental agility. Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people over the age of 75 who'd done a variety of different work in their preferred industries.

Over an eight-year period, Medical Daily reports participants completed the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) every year and a half to test brain power and memory.

Strikingly, those who'd worked at an executive level, strategizing and executing plans, as well as those peers from a verbal background, charged with tasks like "interpreting information," showed a higher level of cognitive skill and slower rate of mental decline than those who'd worked with low-tier fluid tasks like "analyzing data."

However, those who'd performed a combination of all three kinds of tasks during their careers scored highest on the MMSE for memory, thought and slow mental decline.

Lead author Francisca S. Then said in a press release her results confirm challenging work is key in fighting off mental decline, explaining,

Our 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.

The teams notes that although today's business world is demanding, we all may be thankful for it in old age.

Citations: Hard Work Preserves Brain Health, Protects Against Memory Loss (Medical Daily)