Complex jobs may protect memory
People who work in complex jobs, such as lawyers, architects and teachers, may have better memory skills later in life, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.
The research team analyzed 1,066 individuals from Scotland with an average age of 70. Each participant was required to undergo cognitive tests, which specifically looked at memory, processing speed and overall thinking ability, and the team also collected the participants’ IQ scores from tests they took when they were 11. In addition, participants provided information on their past and/or present employment. Then, using the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, the researchers scored each participant dependent on the complexity of their jobs within three categories: working with people, with data and with objects.
The results showed that the cognitive test scores of participants who had complex jobs that involved working with both people and data, such as teaching or management, were one to two percent better than the scores of participants who worked in less complex jobs. The researchers say the results are comparable to what you'd find comparing the memories of smokers and non-smokers. If you’re wondering what kind of impact this actually is on the brain, the researchers say that the results are comparable to the benefits of not smoking.