It’s Labor Day, and what better day to share that your job may be doing more than just paying the bills. A study from the University of Wisconsin’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center finds that having a job that requires complex social interactions might protect your brain from developing Alzheimer’s.
The researchers reviewed brain scans of 280 patients at high risk for developing the disease and found that individuals whose scans showed white matter, a marker of Alzheimer’s, were less likely to be exhibiting symptoms if they had a job that required complex social interactions. Unfortunately, job complexity related to data or materials didn’t show the same benefits as socialization.
Lead study author Elizabeth Boots elaborates: “So what that means is that for people with higher levels of occupational complexity, or higher reserves, they’re able to tolerate more white matter pathology in the brain and still perform at the same level as their peers, so it’s protective.”
If you don’t work in a job with frequent socialization, don’t panic. Job complexity is just one piece of the puzzle. Remember that socialization with friends and family, exercise, time outdoors, and a healthy diet are all also proven to reduce your risk of neurodegeneration.