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Alzheimers Dement. 2007 Jul;3(3):192-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2007.04.377.

Job demands and dementia risk among male twin pairs.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.



Job characteristics may influence dementia risk, but some types of job complexity remain to be examined. Twin studies provide a useful methodology to examine job differences between pairs who share many environmental and genetic influences.


Members of the NAS-NRC Twins Registry of World War II Veterans received a clinical evaluation for dementia and had job ratings from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.


Cotwin-control models (n = 220 pairs) indicated lower dementia risk with greater job demands of reasoning, mathematics, language, and vocational training, with comparable results in case-control models (n=425 cases). These effects were significant among twin pairs discordant for 6 or more years, but not among those discordant between 3-5 years. Results were similar for Alzheimer's disease, and main effects were not further explained by zygosity or apolipoprotein E genotype.


Jobs that utilize data, academic skills, and extensive vocational training may protect against dementia; however, in twin pairs these effects only emerged among individuals who remained free of dementia several years after onset in their sibling.


Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Job complexity; Occupation; Twins

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