Enriched Environment at Work and the Incidence of Dementia: Results of the Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged


Background: The high incidence of cognitive impairments in the aging population together with the challenges it imposes on health systems raise the question of what effect working life has on cognitive abilities. Animal models have demonstrated that so called enriched environments protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. The aim was to investigate the impact of enriched environment at work on the incidence of dementia. Methods: The Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged (LEILA 75+) is an ongoing representative population cohort study that examines cognitive functioning and dementia in individuals aged 75 years and older. The participants’ occupational information was matched to O*NET SOC codes and the relevant job descriptors were used to create occupational context indices describing enriched environment at work. Results: Results of logistic regression modeling suggest that a higher level of the index Executive was associated with a lower risk of incident dementia (odds ratio = 0.61, 95% confidence interval = 0.47–0.79, p,0.001). Adjustment for various confounders did not alter the association. The cognitive stimulation indices were only significant in univariate analysis. The Novelty-index remained non-significant. Conclusions: The results suggest that occupational contexts enriched with independent planning/performance of work tasks might decrease the risk of developing dementia. A protective effect of enriched environment at work in general, namely high cognitive stimulation or confrontation with new tasks, could not be confirmed by the results. Citation: Then FS, Luppa M, Schroeter ML, König H-H, Angermeyer MC, et al. (2013) Enriched Environment at Work and the Incidence of Dementia: Results of the Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged (LEILA 75+). PLoS ONE 8(7): e70906. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070906 Editor: Jerson Laks, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Received February 21, 2013; Accepted June 24, 2013; Published July 26, 2013 Copyright: 2013 Then et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This publication is supported by LIFE – Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, Universität Leipzig (LIFE-102P7), which was funded by means of the European Social Fund and the Free State of Saxony. The study was supported by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research, University of Leipzig (JZKF, Project C7). MLS has been supported by the German Consortium for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. * E-mail: Franziska.Then@medizin.uni-leipzig.de

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@inproceedings{LEILA2013EnrichedEA, title={Enriched Environment at Work and the Incidence of Dementia: Results of the Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged}, author={LEILA and Francisca S. Then and Melanie Luppa and Matthias L. Schroeter and H. Koenig and Matthias Claus Angermeyer and Steffi G Riedel-Heller}, year={2013} }