|Title||Cognitive activity at work and the risk of dementia.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Martin-Bassols, N, de New, SC, Johnston, DW, Shields, MA|
|Keywords||Cognition, Dementia, Humans, Occupations, Retirement, Risk Factors|
Dementia prevalence is projected to rise steeply in coming decades, producing tremendous burdens on families, and health and social services. Motivated by the need for further robust evidence on modifiable risk factors, we investigate the relationship between cognitive activity at work and later-life dementia. Using data from the US Health and Retirement Study matched to the O*NET occupational database, we find that a one standard deviation increase in the cognitive activity associated with one's longest held occupation is associated with a 0.9 percentage point reduction in (predicted) dementia, or a 24% reduction relative to the mean. This relationship is consistently found across model specifications and robustness tests. When controlling for individual fixed-effects we find that the association between dementia and work cognitive activity increases with age. Overall, our results provide some evidence in support of the inclusion of cognitive activity at work as a recognized modifiable risk factor for dementia.