Research we're watching
Do you have a mentally stimulating job? It might reduce your risk of dementia later in life, according to an analysis published Aug. 21, 2021, in The BMJ. Researchers combined data from multiple studies that examined how work factors related to chronic disease, disability, and death. They found that people with cognitively stimulating jobs had a 23% lower risk of developing dementia compared with those whose jobs were not considered stimulating. Cognitively stimulating jobs were defined as those that allowed people to make decisions independently and required them to perform demanding tasks.
The studies, from the United States and Europe, collected information from people about their jobs. All of the participants were free of dementia at baseline (between 1986 and 2002). Follow-up to identify dementia lasted until 2017. After adjusting for other dementia risk factors, the researchers found that people in the less stimulating jobs were more likely to experience cognitive decline. However, it’s important to note this analysis could not establish whether the job type affected the brain or whether the association reflected other factors. Additional research is needed to shed more light on this issue.
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