New Study Shows 5 Jobs that Can Put Workers at a Higher Risk of Dementia

A recent study featured in the science journal The Lancet suggests that individuals engaged in physically demanding jobs could be at a higher risk of developing dementia.

Collaborating with the Norwegian National Centre of Ageing and Health and the Butler Columbia Aging Center, Skirbekk and his team examined the impact of occupational physical activity on cognitive health.

They observed that consistently working in physically demanding occupations, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, and handling materials, was associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment.

“Our work also highlights what is called the physical activity paradox – the association of leisure time physical activity with better cognitive outcomes, and how work-related physical activity can lead to worse cognitive outcomes,”

Vegard Skirbekk, a professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia Public Health and the lead author of the study, commented on their findings, as reported by the Sun.

Job roles that require high physical strength include salespeople, nursing assistants, farmers, and livestock producers.
The researchers arrived at their conclusions by analyzing data from 7,005 participants in the HUNT4 70+ Study. This is one of the world’s largest population-based dementia studies.

Among these participants, 902 were diagnosed with dementia later in life, while 2,407 experienced mild cognitive impairment, which does not necessarily lead to dementia.

The study shows individuals in physically demanding jobs faced a roughly 15.5% higher risk of developing dementia compared to those with low occupational physical activity, who had a 9% risk.
Interestingly, the study found that higher levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment.
The researchers also proposed that more cognitively stimulating professions like engineering, administration, teaching, and others likely help individuals maintain higher cognitive function in their later years.

Dr Skirbekk also called for further research to investigate how occupational and physical activity and other factors related to dementia and mild cognitive impairment risk in older adults.

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