Early Retirement May Accelerate Cognitive Decline, According To New Research Conducted By Binghamton University 

And through analyzing this data, Nikolov discovered the program was leading to cognitive decline. The greatest indicator of this was delayed recall– a measure that, in neurobiological research, is widely known to be a critical predictor of dementia.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that females were more negatively affected by the pension program.

Nonetheless, Nikolov believes that the results of this study support the hypothesis that lowered mental activity leads to declining cognitive skills.

In addition, he found that other realms were also negatively influenced– including social engagement, social activities, and mental fitness-associated activities.

“Participants in the program report substantially lower levels of social engagement, with significantly lower rates of volunteering and social interaction than non-beneficiaries. We find that increased social isolation is strongly linked with faster cognitive decline among the elderly,” Nikolov revealed.

On the flip side, the researchers did find that the program improved other health behaviors. For instance, participants in the pension program reported a reduction in regular alcohol consumption as opposed to the previous year.

Still, though, the team is adamant that early retirement’s adverse effects on social and mental engagement largely outweigh the protective effect on different health behaviors.

“Individuals in the areas that implement the NRPS score considerably lower than individuals who live in areas that do not offer the NRPS program,” Nikolov said.

“Over the almost 10 years since its implementation, the program led to a decline in cognitive performance by as high as almost a fifth of a standard deviation on the memory measures we examine.”

So, the fact that retirement may lead to a reduction in cognitive performance is an unexpected and puzzling finding.

At the same time, this discovery is of utmost importance for ensuring the quality of life among elders.

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