This is the first time that income shortages have been related to cognitive functioning and memory impairment.
An investigation of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, in the USA, has observed a relationship between low salaries and subsequent memory impairment. The study, published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, was presented Tuesday at the International Alzheimer’s Conference.
According to one of the co-authors, Katrina Kezios, a researcher at the aforementioned university, the group of scientists analyzed the information on almost 3,000 people born between 1936 and 1941. All of them were divided according to their salary level into three groups: people who had never received low wages, people who were low wage earners occasionally, and those who have always earned low wages.
The term “low wage” was defined as an hourly wage less than two-thirds of the federal median wage for the applicable year . The researchers obtained information on admissions received between the years 1992 and 2004, as well as a list of cases of memory loss in the following 12 years, from 2004 to 2016. Members of the lower-income group suffered from much more rapid and rapid memory decline in later life than those with middle or higher incomes.
According to another researcher, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, social measures aimed at improving the financial well being of workers with a low level of income may have a beneficial effect on cognitive health. “Future work should rigorously examine the number of dementia cases and excess years of cognitive aging that could be prevented under different hypothetical scenarios that would increase the minimum hourly wage,” explains the scientist.
Although low income has been associated with depression, obesity, and hypertension, this is the first time that low income is related to later cognitive functioning and memory impairment.