An analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study conducted by Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, of the University of Southern California is the first to look at how air quality affects the cognitive function of older men and women. The research focused on data from 14,793 people over the age of 50 and found those living in areas with higher levels of air pollution scored poorer on cognitive function tests even after factoring in age, race, education, smoking, behavior, and cardiovascular condition. According to Ailshire, older adults are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of unhealthy air and there is emerging evidence that exposure may have adverse effects on the brain, as well as heart and respiratory health. More here.
As life expectancies grow, so do the number of studies exploring the options for older workers, social security, and retirement. One such study, from the University of Michigan, looks at the idea of eliminating social security payroll taxes for workers over the age of 55 in order to encourage them to continue working rather than opting for retirement. The research found that workers would receive a 10.6 percent increase in their take-home pay and would choose to stay on the job an additional year and a half to take advantage of the extra income. Rewarding older workers would benefit seniors as they financially prepare for retirement but would also be good for the economy as a whole. The study used data from the University of Michigan’s institute for Social Research and the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More here and here.