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Taking Early Retirement May Retire Memory, Too
NY Tmes ^ | October 11, 2010 | GINA KOLATA

Posted on 10/22/2010 11:36:58 PM PDT by neverdem

The two economists call their paper “Mental Retirement,” and their argument has intrigued behavioral researchers. Data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline.

The implication, the economists and others say, is that there really seems to be something to the “use it or lose it” notion — if people want to preserve their memories and reasoning abilities, they may have to keep active.

“It’s incredibly interesting and exciting,” said Laura L. Carstensen, director of the Center on Longevity at Stanford University. “It suggests that work actually provides an important component of the environment that keeps people functioning optimally.”

While not everyone is convinced by the new analysis, published recently in The Journal of Economic Perspectives, a number of leading researchers say the study is, at least, a tantalizing bit of evidence for a hypothesis that is widely believed but surprisingly difficult to demonstrate.

Researchers repeatedly find that retired people as a group tend to do less well on cognitive tests than people who are still working. But, they note, that could be because people whose memories and thinking skills are declining may be more likely to retire than people whose cognitive skills remain sharp.

And research has failed to support the premise that mastering things like memory exercises, crossword puzzles and games like Sudoku carry over into real life, improving overall functioning.

“If you do crossword puzzles, you get better at crossword puzzles,” said Lisa Berkman, director of the Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard. “If you do Sudoku, you get better at Sudoku. You get better at one narrow task. But you don’t get better at cognitive behavior in life.”

The study was possible, explains one of its authors, Robert Willis, a...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Testing
KEYWORDS: memory; neurology; neuroscience; science
This notion of “use it or lose it” gets some more support.
1 posted on 10/22/2010 11:37:01 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Man, the French must be the most forgetful people there are.


2 posted on 10/22/2010 11:39:03 PM PDT by Right Brother
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To: neverdem

It seems to me like an excuse to have people work until the day they go six feet under. Does anyone else think this?


3 posted on 10/22/2010 11:40:32 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator

Not me.

This is simply reporting something that has been noted for centuries as if it were some brilliant new discovery.

Yawn.


4 posted on 10/22/2010 11:44:17 PM PDT by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.8)
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To: napscoordinator
"It seems to me like an excuse to have people work until the day they go six feet under. Does anyone else think this?"

Someone who gets it. Work your ass off until your are crippled or have a heart attack to pay politicians and lazy asses who don't want to work. The word retire has lost all meaning.

5 posted on 10/22/2010 11:48:46 PM PDT by blackbart.223 (I live in Northern Nevada. Reid doesn't represent me.)
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To: MrEdd

That’s it.


6 posted on 10/22/2010 11:53:28 PM PDT by J Aguilar (Fiat Justitia et ruat coelum)
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To: napscoordinator

I would like to cut back to 40 hour weeks when I hit my 70’s in 15 years.


7 posted on 10/22/2010 11:54:38 PM PDT by this_ol_patriot (I work so those on welfare don't have to ;-)
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To: napscoordinator
Does anyone else think this?

Damn right I do. I retired at 51 and have no regrets. I had 3 friend who passed at 52, 56 and 57 respectfully. They were good, hard working guys who, like me, worked ridiculous hours and deserved more time to enjoy life.
My real good friend of 30 years retired at 55, enjoyed a little over a year of retirement, built a new house where he wanted it, then had a massive heart attack and died. That just tore me up. He could have retired at 51 like me, but just wanted to hang in till 55.

8 posted on 10/22/2010 11:55:47 PM PDT by The Cajun
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To: neverdem

9 posted on 10/22/2010 11:57:00 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Visualize)
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To: neverdem
If you do crossword puzzles, you get better at crossword puzzles,” said Lisa Berkman, director of the Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard. “If you do Sudoku, you get better at Sudoku. You get better at one narrow task. But you don’t get better at cognitive behavior in life.”

But then their big test for "cognitive behavior in life" is for short term recall of a list of words. Isn't that a "narrow task"? It seems to me it is; in fact more narrow than crossword and Sudoku puzzles. These guys are idiots, that's all I can conclude.

10 posted on 10/22/2010 11:57:20 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: neverdem
The two economists call their paper “Mental Retirement”

Meaning the New York Times, I guess.

11 posted on 10/23/2010 12:09:15 AM PDT by Hunton Peck ("Pork: The Other White Meat!" De facto motto of the late Robert Byrd)
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To: dr_lew
I caught that, also. Their "cognitive behavior in life" is memorize 10 words!! We could give ourselves the same test.

They should give the same test to 10 or 15 yr olds.
12 posted on 10/23/2010 12:10:40 AM PDT by presently no screen name
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To: All
Who are you again????
13 posted on 10/23/2010 12:21:44 AM PDT by Bradís Gramma (Here's a thought!! Donate to the website you are on RIGHT NOW!! .... *waves hi to DS*)
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To: neverdem

“Data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline.”

this is a set-up to raise the retirement age to seventy.


14 posted on 10/23/2010 5:40:57 AM PDT by 4buttons
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To: The Cajun

I’m in my 70’s now. Worked day and night building a business for 20 years. Sold it and retired when I was 50. No regrets whatsoever.


15 posted on 10/23/2010 5:46:31 AM PDT by Oldhunk
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To: The Cajun

I’m in my 70’s now. Worked day and night building a business for 20 years. Sold it and retired when I was 50. No regrets whatsoever.


16 posted on 10/23/2010 5:46:36 AM PDT by Oldhunk
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To: The Cajun

I forgot not to hit post twice.


17 posted on 10/23/2010 5:54:59 AM PDT by Oldhunk
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To: napscoordinator
It seems to me like an excuse to have people work until the day they go six feet under.

My first thought. More science in the government-program interest.

18 posted on 10/25/2010 3:31:56 AM PDT by Marylander
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To: neverdem
But, they note, that could be because people whose memories and thinking skills are declining may be more likely to retire than people whose cognitive skills remain sharp.

Ya think?

19 posted on 10/25/2010 3:35:45 AM PDT by Marylander
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To: neverdem
Researchers repeatedly find that retired people as a group tend to do less well on cognitive tests than people who are still working. But, they note, that could be because people whose memories and thinking skills are declining may be more likely to retire than people whose cognitive skills remain sharp.

Hmmm, looks like the researchers aren't brain-dead...

20 posted on 10/25/2010 1:02:23 PM PDT by GOPJ ('Power abdicates only under the stress of counter-power." Martin Buber /a Tea-nami's coming...)
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