A study of more than 1,000 Scottish 70-year-olds found that those who had had complex jobs scored better on memory and thinking tests.
One theory is a more stimulating environment helps build up a “cognitive reserve” to help buffer the brain against age-related decline,
The research was reported in Neurology.
The team, from Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, is now planning more work to look at how lifestyle and work interact to affect memory loss.
Those taking part in the study took tests designed to assess memory, processing speed and general thinking ability, as well as filling in a questionnaire about their working life.
The analysis showed that those whose jobs had required complex skills in dealing with data or people, such as management and teaching, had better scores on memory and thinking tests than those who had done less mentally intense jobs such as factory workers, bookbinders, or carpet layers.
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