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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of the present study was to investigate how different mentally demanding work conditions during the professional life—i.e., enriched environments at work—might influence the rate of cognitive decline in old age.

Methods:

Individuals (n = 1,054) of the Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged, a representative population-based cohort study of individuals aged 75 years and older, underwent cognitive testing via the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in up to 6 measurement waves. Type and level of mentally demanding work conditions in the participants' former professional life were classified based on the O*NET job descriptor database.

Results:

In multivariate mixed-model analyses (controlling for sociodemographic and health-related factors), a high level of mentally demanding work tasks stimulating verbal intelligence was significantly associated with a better cognitive functioning at baseline (on average 5 MMSE points higher) as well as a lower rate of cognitive decline (on average 2 MMSE points less) over the 8-year follow-up period compared with a low level. The rate of cognitive decline in old age was also significantly lower (on average 3 MMSE points less) in individuals who had a high level of mentally demanding work tasks stimulating executive functions than those who had a low level.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that a professional life enriched with work tasks stimulating verbal intelligence and executive functions may help to sustain a good cognitive functioning in old age (75+ years). The findings thus emphasize that today's challenging work conditions may also promote positive health effects.

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Supplementary Material

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

Neurology®
Volume 84Number 21May 26, 2015
Pages: 2169-2176
PubMed: 25925981

Publication History

Received: July 8, 2014
Accepted: February 18, 2015
Published online: April 29, 2015
Published in print: May 26, 2015

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Disclosure

F. Then, T. Luck, M. Luppa, H. König, and M. Angermeyer report no disclosures relevant to the manuscript. S. Riedel-Heller is editor of the German psychiatric journal Psychiatrische Praxis. Go to Neurology.org for full disclosures.

Study Funding

Supported by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research of the University of Leipzig (IZKF, project C07) and LIFE (Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases at the Universität Leipzig, which is funded by means of the European Social Fund and the Free State of Saxony, Germany). Dr. Francisca S. Then was awarded a junior research grant by the Medical Faculty, University of Leipzig.

Authors

Affiliations & Disclosures

Francisca S. Then, PhD
From the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (F.S.T., T.L., M.L., S.G.R.-H.), and LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (F.S.T., T.L.), University of Leipzig; Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research (H.-H.K.), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Center for Public Mental Health (M.C.A.), Gösing am Wagram, Austria; and Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine (M.C.A.), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
(1) Junior research grant by the Medical Faculty, University of Leipzig, Germany
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Tobias Luck, PhD
From the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (F.S.T., T.L., M.L., S.G.R.-H.), and LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (F.S.T., T.L.), University of Leipzig; Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research (H.-H.K.), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Center for Public Mental Health (M.C.A.), Gösing am Wagram, Austria; and Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine (M.C.A.), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Melanie Luppa, PhD
From the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (F.S.T., T.L., M.L., S.G.R.-H.), and LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (F.S.T., T.L.), University of Leipzig; Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research (H.-H.K.), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Center for Public Mental Health (M.C.A.), Gösing am Wagram, Austria; and Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine (M.C.A.), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Hans-Helmut König, MD, MPH
From the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (F.S.T., T.L., M.L., S.G.R.-H.), and LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (F.S.T., T.L.), University of Leipzig; Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research (H.-H.K.), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Center for Public Mental Health (M.C.A.), Gösing am Wagram, Austria; and Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine (M.C.A.), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Matthias C. Angermeyer, PhD
From the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (F.S.T., T.L., M.L., S.G.R.-H.), and LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (F.S.T., T.L.), University of Leipzig; Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research (H.-H.K.), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Center for Public Mental Health (M.C.A.), Gösing am Wagram, Austria; and Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine (M.C.A.), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Steffi G. Riedel-Heller, MD, MPH
From the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (F.S.T., T.L., M.L., S.G.R.-H.), and LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (F.S.T., T.L.), University of Leipzig; Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research (H.-H.K.), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Center for Public Mental Health (M.C.A.), Gösing am Wagram, Austria; and Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine (M.C.A.), University of Cagliari, Italy.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
(1) Psychiatrische Praxis (Thieme), Journal Editor, since 7 years (2) Nervenarzt (Springer), Editorial Board Member, since 2 years
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE

Notes

Correspondence to Dr. Then: [email protected]
Go to Neurology.org for full disclosures. Funding information and disclosures deemed relevant by the authors, if any, are provided at the end of the article.

Author Contributions

Dr. Francisca S. Then conducted the statistical analyses, wrote the manuscript, read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Dr. Tobias Luck conducted the statistical analyses, revised the manuscript, read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Dr. Melanie Luppa performed the study, revised the manuscript, read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Prof. Dr. Hans-Helmut König conceived and designed the study, read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Prof. Dr. Matthias C. Angermeyer conceived and designed the study, performed the study, read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Prof. Dr. Steffi G. Riedel-Heller conceived and designed the study, performed the study, revised the manuscript, read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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