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Your memory after retiring * Ginkgo biloba and stroke.

Q I've been thinking about retiring soon, but a friend told me she read that retirement causes memory decline. Is this true?

A A 2017 study did point to a possible decline in thinking and memory after retirement, but I don't see any need to panic. The study found a decline in only one area: verbal memory function (the ability to recall spoken information, such as names and other words). However, other important cognitive functions were not affected. Another caveat is that although the study asked whether participants had retired for medical reasons and accounted for this, subtle cognitive changes that could have unconsciously impacted a person's decision to retire were not factored in.

It may be normal to have some drop-off in verbal memory function after retirement if the latter means you aren't communicating or collaborating with others as much as you did when you were working. But these data certainly don't prove that retirement places you at greater risk of cognitive impairment. The latter is a complicated puzzle with many pieces. While retirement can cause some individuals to cut down on social engagement and physical activity--both of which play an important role in cognitive health--it leads to increased opportunities in both areas for many other people. There also are other things you can do to maintain your brain, including eating a nutritious diet and quitting smoking.

Judith Neugroschl, MD

Psychiatry

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Title Annotation:ASK THE EXPERTS
Author:Neugroschl, Judith; Beizer, Judith
Publication:Focus on Healthy Aging
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:232
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