Does work protect women from age-related memory loss?

Does work protect women from age-related memory loss?

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Working women experience reduced memory loss

In the course of later life, people's memories get worse. Researchers have now found that paid work protects women from memory loss.

A study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, presented at the Alzheimer Association International Conference (AAIC) 2019 in Los Angeles, 2019 found that it helps women to protect themselves from age-related memory loss when they are doing paid work.

Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer's

The study found a number of differences in the risk of developing and developing Alzheimer's in women and men, including newly identified gender-specific risk genes. The researchers also made it possible to contrast Alzheimer's biology in the brain. Two thirds of people in the United States who have Alzheimer's are women. This emerges from the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report. There are a number of possible reasons why more women than men suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, such as the fact that women on average live longer than men. However, other factors could also play an important role. Researchers looked at how paid work over time affects the decline in memory in older women.

6,386 women were examined

Women have seen drastic changes in employment patterns and family circumstances over the past 100 years. In order to better understand how the demands of family and work (labor force participation, marriage, motherhood) influence the decline in memory in late life, the researchers examined 6,386 women who were born between 1935 and 1956.

Does work protect women's memories?

The women in the study indicated whether they were employed and married between the ages of 16 and 50 and whether they had children. The memory of women was measured with standardized tests about every two years from the age of 50. The researchers found that women who did paid work between early adulthood and middle age, whether mothers or childless women, experienced a slower memory decline in late life. The memory decline was faster for women who were not in gainful employment.

How do work, marriage and children affect the results?

The average memory between the ages of 60 and 70 was 61 percent faster in married women with children who had never worked, compared to married working mothers. The average memory of women between the ages of 60 and 70 who lived longer than single mothers without a job decreased 83 percent faster than married working mothers, the authors of the press release report.

More research is needed

Based on these findings, the researchers advise that participation in paid jobs could play an important role in the cognitive health of women in later age. This assumption also builds on the results of previous research, which found that work appears to be associated with a higher level of cognitive stimulation and an increase in cognitive reserve. The results of the research suggest that paid work provides mental stimulation, financial and social benefits to women, which seems to reduce the decline in memory in later age. Future research should assess whether strategies and programs that allow women to fully participate in paid work are effective strategies to prevent memory loss. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Video: Memory Loss and Dementia Explained with Dr. Anne Constantino (August 2022).