People with challenging jobs may have to work hard, but the payoff could be some protection against Alzheimer’s disease later in life, new research suggests.
In a study of more than 10,000 older Swedish adults who were part of a twin registry, researchers found that people with a history of “complex” work had a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings suggest that complex jobs may “provide some mental exercise” that helps delay the onset of dementia later in life, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ross Andel of the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Overall, people whose main lifetime occupation required more complex interpersonal relationships — such as managing people, making negotiations or dealing with customers — were less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
Among twins discordant for dementia, there was some evidence that complex work with data — compiling, organizing or analyzing information, for instance — was protective.
Complex work was related to lower Alzheimer’s risk regardless of a person’s education, the researchers found.