Researchers have found that working on complex tasks which require a lot of brainpower protects your thinking skills in later life.
Teaching, managing people, dealing with complicated data and similar work helps the brain to remain sharp after the age of 70.
Over a 1,000 people from the Lothian birth cohort of 1936 who had been tested in the Scottish Mental Health Survey of 1947 were tested for memory, mental processing speed and general thinking ability by researchers at universities in Edinburgh.
They then assessed the complexity of their jobs using the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, They found that those who had worked in difficult jobs had an advantage.
Professor James Goodwin, head of research at Age UK said “The relationship between work we do during our lives and our health in later life is a complex one so this finding is a welcome step forward ….. the more we can find out what influences cognitive ageing, the better advice we can give”.
The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.