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Work and Mind


Many of us spend a significant portion of our adult lives at work. A new study shows there may actually be some benefit in addition to a paycheck. Psychologist Guy Potter at Duke University Medical Center studies the brain.
Potter finds in a recent study that doing a job that is intellectually demanding creates thinking abilities that stay with us into old age -- regardless of a person's intelligence or education.

GUY POTTER, DUKE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
"What we're finding out (is) that jobs that have the attributes of being demanding organizationally, requiring research, requiring a response to something that might be happening new on the job day after day after day."

Potter and colleagues studied more than one thousand veterans of World War Two who are now elderly but, at the time they joined the military, they took an intelligence test.

Starting at age 60, they took periodic follow-up tests to evaluate their mental abilities. The researchers found that those who benefited the most from intellectually challenging jobs were those who had lower intelligence scores as young men.

GUY POTTER, DUKE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER says "In general, a repetitive job probably is doing less for you cognitively than a job that requires a lot of problem solving."

However, Potter says an intellectually challenging job may not prevent dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but it may delay the onset.

Listen to audio files for more details.

Editor: Jane Friedman
Translator: Vannasone Keodara

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