M. Jackson Group Update – March 2018 – Retirement and Memory

This month’s post is again from Ken Pope’s listserv, where he kindly provides daily summaries of current articles in the field.  In posting this article to Facebook, I had an interesting discussion regarding the subgroup of retirees who actually engage in as many or more activities after “retirement” than in their former employment. In my opinion, it’s quite possible that they are protected from the cognitive changes discussed below. Overall, it turns out that we have to keep the cognitive, social, and physical motors running…  The article summary is as follows:
The European Journal of Epidemiology has scheduled a study for publication in a future issue: “Effect of retirement on cognitive function: the Whitehall II cohort study.”
 
The authors are Dorina Cadar, Maria Fleischmann, Stephen Stansfeld, Ewan Carr, Mika Kivimäki, Anne McMunn, & Jenny Head.
 
Here’s the abstract: “According to the ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis, a lack of mentally challenging activities might exacerbate the loss of cognitive function. On this basis, retirement has been suggested to increase the risk of cognitive decline, but evidence from studies with long follow-up is lacking. We tested this hypothesis in a cohort of 3,433 civil servants who participated in the Whitehall II Study, including repeated measurements of cognitive functioning up to 14 years before and 14 years after retirement. Piecewise models, centred at the year of retirement, were used to compare trajectories of verbal memory, abstract reasoning, phonemic verbal fluency, and semantic verbal fluency before and after retirement. We found that all domains of cognition declined over time. Declines in verbal memory were 38% faster after retirement compared to before, after taking account of age-related decline. In analyses stratified by employment grade, higher employment grade was protective against verbal memory decline while people were still working, but this ‘protective effect’ was lost when individuals retired, resulting in a similar rate of decline post-retirement across employment grades. We did not find a significant impact of retirement on the other cognitive domains. In conclusion, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that retirement accelerates the decline in verbal memory function. This study points to the benefits of cognitively stimulating activities associated with employment that could benefit older people’s memory.”
 
The article is online at:
 
Ken Pope
 
POPE: “AWARD ADDRESS: THE CODE NOT TAKEN: THE PATH FROM GUILD ETHICS TO TORTURE AND OUR CONTINUING CHOICES”—
Canadian Psychology/psychologie Canadienne article free online at:
 
POPE: FIVE STEPS TO STRENGTHEN ETHICS IN ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS: 
EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES INFORMED BY RESEARCH AND HISTORY—Routledge (imprint of Taylor & Francis)
Hardbound—Kindle—Nook—eBook—Google Book
 
POPE & VASQUEZ:  ETHICS IN PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELING: A PRACTICAL GUIDE (5th EDITION)—John Wiley & Sons
Print—Kindle—Nook—eBook—Apple iBook—Google Book
 
“He not busy being born
Is busy dying.”
—Bob Dylan

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