30-Dec-14 2:15 PM  CST

Complex Jobs May add in Maintaining Brain Fitness During Aging

At one time or another we have all felt our jobs were difficult or complex, but it may turn out that the extra strain our jobs place on our brains may actually help maintain its fitness. According to a recent report people with complex jobs, regardless of IQ, may have a higher chance for maintaining brain health as they age. The study sampled various professions from lawyers, architects and engineers, typically professions that require a higher and more complex level of thinking, to typist and salespersons.

Research has found that the cognitive benefits of a higher, more complex level profession are similar to the cognitive function found later if life from not smoking. People whose jobs require them to use higher-level cognitive functions often work with data and people. As a result of these career mandated skills cognitive functions remain intact and in some cases, even increase.  Researchers believe because cognitive skills such as reasoning and thinking are constantly in use it allows us to remain sharp into the later years of our lives.

The average age of the participants in the study was 70. The study measured cognitive functions such as memory, speed, and general knowledge. Along with the former professions of the participants, education, ability to retain services, criminal records and IQ at age 11were taken into consideration when complying statistics. Statistics found that regardless of the participants’ childhood IQ and other social factors, people who chose careers that involved complex thinking skills had a greater chance of maintaining cognitive functions later in life.

The study, which involved 1,066 participants and was conducted at the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, is not conclusive, but does shine a light on how early brain function can have an effect on cognition later in life.

 

 

 

Resources:

“Complex jobs might help maintain brain fitness in aging”(2014) FoxNews, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/12/26/complex-jobs-might-help-maintain-brain-fitness-in-aging/, retrieved 26.December 2014

Park, A., (2014) “The more engaging your job, the sharper your thinking skills”, Time, http://time.com/3595997/complex-jobs-mental-cognition/, retrieved 26.December 2014

 


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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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