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  Do high mental demands at work protect cognitive health in old age via hippocampal volume? Results from a community sample

Rodriguez, F. S., Huhn, S., Vega, W. A., Aranda, M. P., Schroeter, M. L., Engel, C., et al. (2021). Do high mental demands at work protect cognitive health in old age via hippocampal volume? Results from a community sample. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 12: 622321. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2020.622321.

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Rodriguez, Francisca S.1, 2, 3, 4, Author
Huhn, Sebastian5, 6, 7, Author           
Vega, William A.8, Author
Aranda, Maria P.8, Author
Schroeter, Matthias L.5, 6, Author           
Engel, Christoph4, 9, Author
Baber, Ronny4, 10, Author
Burkhardt, Ralph10, Author
Löffler, Markus4, 9, Author
Thiery, Joachim10, Author
Villringer, Arno5, 6, Author           
Luck, Tobias11, Author
Riedel-Heller, Steffi G.3, Author
Witte, A. Veronica5, 6, 7, Author           
1German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Greifswald, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2Center for Cognitive Science, TU Kaiserslautern, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (ISAP), University Hospital Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (LIFE), University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
6Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
8Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
9Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology (IMISE), University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
10Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics (ILM), University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
11Faculty of Applied Social Sciences , University of Applied Sciences, Erfurt, Germany, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Hippocampus; Cognitive functioning; Mental demands; Intellectual activities; Aging
 Abstract: As higher mental demands at work are associated with lower dementia risk and a key symptom of dementia is hippocampal atrophy, the study aimed at investigating the association between mental demands at work and hippocampal volume. We analyzed data from the population-based LIFE-Adult-Study in Leipzig, Germany (n = 1,409, age 40–80). Hippocampal volumes were measured via three-dimensional Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; 3D MP-RAGE) and mental demands at work were classified via the O*NET database. Linear regression analyses adjusted for gender, age, education, APOE e4-allele, hypertension, and diabetes revealed associations between higher demands in “language and knowledge,” “information processing,” and “creativity” at work on larger white and gray matter volume and better cognitive functioning with “creativity” having stronger effects for people not yet retired. Among retired individuals, higher demands in “pattern detection” were associated with larger white matter volume as well as larger hippocampal subfields CA2/CA3, suggesting a retention effect later in life. There were no other relevant associations with hippocampal volume. Our findings do not support the idea that mental demands at work protect cognitive health via hippocampal volume or brain volume. Further research may clarify through what mechanism mentally demanding activities influence specifically dementia pathology in the brain.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-10-282020-12-212021-01-13
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2020.622321
Other: eCollection 2020
PMID: 33536897
PMC: PMC7848890
 Degree: -



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Project information

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Project name : -
Grant ID : TH2137/3-1
Funding program : -
Funding organization : German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project name : LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, Universität Leipzig
Grant ID : -
Funding program : -
Funding organization : European Social Fund and the Free State of Saxony

Source 1

Title: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
  Abbreviation : Front Aging Neurosci
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Lausanne : Frontiers Research Foundation
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 12 Sequence Number: 622321 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1663-4365
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1663-4365