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Five Jobs with Higher Risk of Dementia, According to Lancet Research

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Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Physically Demanding Jobs Linked to Higher Risk of Dementia and Cognitive Impairment

A new study published in The Lancet reveals that physically demanding jobs, including salespeople, nursing and care assistants, and farmers, can significantly increase the risk of developing dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers found that individuals who worked demanding jobs between the ages of 33 and 65 had a staggering 72% higher risk of developing dementia and MCI in their 70s compared to those with office jobs.

Physical labor that involves activities such as climbing, lifting, balance, walking, and stooping can put immense strain on the body and mind. This strain can lead to “wear and tear” that exacerbates cognitive decline. Additionally, physically demanding jobs often require long periods of standing, manual labor, and involve high levels of stress, which may contribute to the increased risk of dementia and MCI. Inconvenient working hours and the risk of burnout are also believed to play a role.

The study also suggests that factors such as hearing loss, exposure to pollution, genetics, and socioeconomic status could contribute to the increased risk of cognitive decline. It is also possible that individuals with more physically demanding jobs may have had lower early-life cognitive abilities, influencing their schooling and job opportunities.

Further analysis revealed that more physical demand later in adulthood is associated with a smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. This, in turn, leads to poorer memory performance. On the other hand, individuals in lower physically demanding jobs with more downtime, accommodating schedules, and cognitive stimulation, such as teachers or engineers, showed better cognitive development over time.

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The study analyzed data from the HUNT4 70+ Study, which included 7,005 adults aged 33 to 65 years old. Out of this group, 92 participants were clinically diagnosed with dementia and 2,407 were diagnosed with MCI.

The findings of this study have important implications, as strategies for preventing cognitive impairment in individuals with physically demanding jobs need to be developed. It is crucial that adequate measures are put in place to support the cognitive health of those in physically demanding professions.

Interestingly, this study contradicts a previous study that found an increased risk of dementia among adults who engage in sedentary behaviors for more than 10 hours per day. This highlights the complexity of cognitive health, as both physical activity and job demands can impact the risk of developing dementia and MCI.

In conclusion, the study sheds light on the potential risks associated with physically demanding jobs on cognitive health. More research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and to develop effective strategies for preventing cognitive decline in these individuals.

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Robert is a talented writer and educator with a focus on MBA courses. He has years of experience teaching and writing about the intricacies of business education, and his work is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application. Robert holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a reputable institution, and his academic background gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing MBA students. He has a talent for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language, making his writing accessible to a wide range of readers.

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