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Women who work for a salary between early adulthood and middle age experience slower memory decline, meaning they probably are at lower risk of dementia, a new study presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles suggests.
Women who engaged in paid employment between ages 16 and 50, whether mothers or non-mothers, had better memories in late life than women who did not work, the study found. The rate of memory deterioration was fastest among women who never earned a wage. Memory loss is one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at San Francisco and Boston College tracked 6,836 American women born between 1935 and 1956 across about 20 years. Participants were enrollees in the Health and Retirement Study, a federally funded long-term observational study of aging people across the United States.