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April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6)

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Research Plus

Work can protect against cognitive impairment and dementia

Work characterised by high job control and high work complexity appears to protect against cognitive decline and dementia, according to this systematic review of 17 included studies. The available evidence suggests that jobs rated very challenging, highly demanding intellectually, with high cognitive stimulation and high mental workload are protective. It was not possible to carry out a meta-analysis owing to differences between the various study designs, so the scale of the protective effect is not quantified. Publication bias (ie research with positive results may have a greater chance of being published) and the impact of individuals with higher cognitive abilities being selected for more cognitively challenging jobs  cannot be ruled out.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014; online first: doi: 10.1136/oemed-2013-101760

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6) pp19