It's by far the largest study to look at this, and researchers say the conclusion makes sense. Working tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged - all things known to help prevent mental decline.
"For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent," said Carole Dufouil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government's health research agency.
She led the study and gave results Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston.
About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. In the U.S., about 5 million have Alzheimer's - 1 in 9 people aged 65 and over. What causes the mind-robbing disease isn't known and there is no cure or any treatments that slow its progression.
France has had some of the best Alzheimer's research in the world, partly because its former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made it a priority. The country also has detailed health records on self-employed people who pay into a Medicare-like health system.
Researchers used these records on more than 429,000 workers, most of whom were shopkeepers or craftsmen such as bakers and woodworkers. They were 74 on average and had been retired for an average of 12 years.
Nearly 3 percent had developed dementia but the risk of this was lower for each year of age at retirement. Someone who retired at 65 had about a 15 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared to someone retiring at 60, after other factors that affect those odds were taken into account, Dufouil said.
To rule out the possibility that mental decline may have led people to retire earlier, researchers did analyses that eliminated people who developed dementia within 5 years of retirement, and within 10 years of it.
"The trend is exactly the same," suggesting that work was having an effect on cognition, not the other way around, Dufouil said.
France mandates retirement in various jobs - civil servants must retire by 65, she said. The new study suggests "people should work as long as they want" because it may have health benefits, she said.
June Springer, who just turned 90, thinks it does. She was hired as a full-time receptionist at Caffi Plumbing & Heating in Alexandria, Va., eight years ago.
"I'd like to give credit to the company for hiring me at that age," she said. "It's a joy to work, being with people and keeping up with current events. I love doing what I do. As long as God grants me the brain to use I'll take it every day."
Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association, said the study results don't mean everyone needs to delay retirement.
"It's more staying cognitively active, staying socially active, continue to be engaged in whatever it is that's enjoyable to you" that's important, she said.
"My parents are retired but they're busier than ever. They're taking classes at their local university, they're continuing to attend lectures and they're continuing to stay cognitively engaged and socially engaged in their lives."
-- AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner in Chicago contributed to this report.
Alzheimer's info: HTTP://WWW.ALZHEIMERS.GOV
Alzheimer's Association: HTTP://WWW.ALZ.ORG
CHICAGO (AP) -- Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer in St. Louis' four-run ninth inning, and the Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 10-6 on Sunday night in the majors' final game before the All-Star break.
Allen Craig lined a tiebreaking RBI single into left field before Molina drove an 0-2 pitch from Kevin Gregg (2-2) over the wall in left for his seventh homer. Craig and Molina tuned up for Tuesday's game in New York with four hits apiece, helping St. Louis to a season-high 21 hits overall.
Chicago went up 4-3 on Darwin Barney's three-run homer in the sixth and pinch hitter Cody Ransom had a tying two-run double in the eighth, but the Cubs' bullpen was unable to hold off the NL's highest-scoring team.
Pete Kozma had two RBI singles as the Cardinals won for the seventh time in nine games to salvage a split of the four-game series. Edward Mujica (2-1) had his second blown save opportunity in 28 chances, but managed to get the win on the same day he was chosen to replace teammate Adam Wainwright on the NL All-Star team.
Despite injuries to key pitchers Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Jason Motte, St. Louis heads to the All-Star break with baseball's best record at 57-36. It leads the NL Central by one game over surprising Pittsburgh, which lost 4-2 to the New York Mets earlier in the day.
Barney also had a run-scoring single for the Cubs, who went 6-4 on a 10-game stretch in Chicago that included a makeup game at the crosstown White Sox last Monday. The four RBIs for Barney matched a career high set in a 14-4 victory against Pittsburgh on July 30, 2012.
After a slow start, the Cubs (42-51) are a respectable 24-21 in their last 45 games. It's good enough for a four-game improvement compared to last year at this point, when the North Siders were 38-55 on their way to their first 100-loss season since 1966.
The Cardinals carried a 3-1 lead into the sixth, but Wainwright got into trouble after Alfonso Soriano began the inning with a fly ball to the warning track in right. Dioner Navarro and Brian Bogusevic then hit consecutive singles to put runners on first and second.
Wainwright bounced back to strike out Dave Sappelt, but his first pitch to Barney was up and over the plate, and he drove it into the basket in left field for his sixth homer.
That proved to be just a minor little speed bump for the Cardinals, who used four hits to regain the lead during a two-run seventh. Kozma singled in Molina to tie it at 4 and eventually came around on Matt Carpenter's bouncer into center field.
Adams tacked on an RBI double in eighth, setting the stage for the wild finish.
Travis Wood, who will represent the Cubs at the All-Star festivities, allowed three runs and a season-high 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. It matched the shortest outing of the year for the consistent lefty, who pitched at least six innings in 17 of his first 18 starts.
Molina was out of the starting lineup for St. Louis' 6-4 loss on Saturday night and began the night in a 1-for-19 rut covering his previous seven games. But he singled in each of his first two at-bats and forced Bogusevic to make a leaping catch against the wall in center in the eighth.
NOTES: Cardinals OF Matt Holliday (right hamstring tightness) missed his third consecutive game. "We need to be real careful so we can continue to progress, make sure we are aiming for that first day after the break," manager Mike Matheny said. ... OF Cole Gillespie joined the Cubs, and reliever Henry Rodriguez was designated for assignment to make room on the roster. Gillespie was claimed off waivers from San Francisco on Saturday. He had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker allowed four runs and six hits in three innings in his first rehab start with Class A Kane County. Baker missed last season with Minnesota after undergoing elbow-ligament replacement surgery. "Today was a big hump, to pitch against hitters and getting in a real game and the whole atmosphere and everything," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "and then hopefully we just start seeing gradual pickup in the velocities and all that."
CHICAGO (AP) -- Carlos Beltran had three hits and drove in a run, while reliever-turned-starter Joe Kelly (1-3) won his first game of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Friday at Wrigley Field.
Beltran was a homer short of hitting for the cycle, with a run-scoring triple, double and single as the Cardinals bounced back from Thursday night's loss to the Cubs that snapped a five-game winning streak.
Kelly allowed three hits and a run in 5 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking two. Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 27 opportunities.
St. Louis jumped on Cubs starter Carlos Villaneuva (2-5) for two runs in the top of the first inning. Matt Carpenter singled and scored on Beltran's triple, followed by Allen Craig's RBI single.
The Cubs cut St. Louis' lead to 2-1 in the third. Luis Valbuena walked, went to second when Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch, Anthony Rizzo hit into a fielder's choice that pushed Valbuena to third and then Alfonso Soriano's single scored Valbuena.
The Cubs threatened in the sixth with runners at first and second with just one out, but Brian Bogusevic hit into an inning-ending double-play.
The Cardinals increased their lead to 3-1 in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Rob Johnson, batting for reliever Randy Choate, hit a two-out triple to right field, just out of reach of a diving Nate Schierholtz, and Matt Carpenter followed with an RBI double to left-center.
Castro closed the score to 3-2 with a lead-off homer in the eight, but the Cubs would get no closer, stranding seven runners in the game.
The Cubs are 12-8 in their last 20 games, and are 3-5 vs. St. Louis thus far this season. They faced the best team in baseball for the second straight week. Last weekend, they took two-of-three from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had the major leagues' best mark at the time.
NOTES: Cardinals LF Matt Holliday was held out Friday with right hamstring tightness and is day-to-day. . In addition to signing first round draft pick Kris Bryant, the Cubs also inked 12th round RHP Trevor Clifton and 19th round C Will Remillard. . Saturday's pitchers will be the Cards' Lance Lynn (11-3, 3.67) vs. Matt Garza (5-1, 3.22) for the Cubs. Garza has been the subject of trade rumors in recent days. "He's obviously throwing extremely well and he's very healthy and there are teams out there looking for pitching who are going to call and try to acquire him," Cubs president Theo Epstein said before Friday's game. "He's helping us win games right now, there's a chance to possibly retain him beyond this year, so we'll just balance all that out and do what's best for the organization." . The Cubs have used 42 players thus far this season, a pre-All-Star break team record. . The Cubs came into Friday's game leading the National League with 293 extra-base hits. . Attendance was 37,322.