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Mental challenge in the workplace and risk of dementia in old age: is there a connection?
  1. R S Wilson
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R S Wilson
 Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Armour Academic Center, 600 South Paulina, Suite 1038, Chicago, IL 60612, USA;

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Commentary on the paper by Seidler et al (Occup Environ Med, December 2004)*

Dementia is among the most feared consequences of growing old, and with the aging of the generation born after World War II, its prevalence is expected to increase in most industrialised nations in the coming decades. Cognitive decline and dementia in late life are the result of multiple environmental and genetic risk factors interacting with multiple age related pathological changes taking place in the brain. The good news is that recent studies have identified a range of lifestyle factors associated with risk of dementia, including characteristic levels of cognitive, social, and physical activity and proneness to experience negative emotions, suggesting that some proportion of risk may be modifiable.

In the December 2004 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Seidler and colleagues report an association between psychosocial features of the workplace environment and risk of dementia, with decreased risk in persons with more cognitively and socially challenging working conditions.1 The finding is noteworthy because few previous studies have examined the …

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