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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Work Causes Dementia

Work Sucks! Everybody Knows That! Save Yourself! Quit Now!

Sometimes I stumble across some Dementia research that is interesting. This is one of those articles. It kinda explains why I can still write this blog, but not why I cannot do simple arithmetic. I did not read the original study in full, but the research model appears not to support the conclusions - but the data is interesting.

Since this is yet another correlational study trying to show causation we might as well do the same. I think that it clearly shows that having a job causes dementia, and that depending on the job you happen to have it causes it to affect different areas of the brain. Work drove me crazy! The solution is simple: Don't work! Join the ranks of the unemployed. Hey! With the unemployment figures we have now that seems to be the current healthcare plan in action!

Or:  People predisposed to getting dementia on one side or the other choose professions that use the unaffected side of their brains.  Without some manipulation of a variable this conclusion makes just as much sense as the one drawn in the following article. It may be a valid predictor, but of what - that people with left-side atrophy choose careers that favor the right side of the brain?

The fact that the conclusions stretch what can really be determined from the study, it is quite possible that they are correct. After all, it does make sense that the stronger side of the brain would be less impacted by the atrophy associated with FTD. So, what would happen if you changed jobs? I'm just asking. Like they said, more research is needed... but what do I know? I have dementia.

BOSTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A study of U.S., Canadian and European patients with a form of dementia suggests one's career may influence where the disease begins in the brain.

The study -- led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in collaboration with the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, and several U.S. and European clinical sites conducted -- was a multi-center review of brain imaging and occupation data from 588 patients diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, or frontotemporal dementia.

Dr. Nathan Spreng, who conducted the study while a psychology graduate student at Baycrest and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, says this type of dementia often strikes in middle age and manifests on either the left or the right side of the brain, while Alzheimer's tends to affect both sides of the brain equally.

"The disease appeared to attack the side of the brain that was the least used in the patient's professional life,"  Spreng says in a statement.

Patients who had jobs rated highly for verbal skills, such as a school principal or chief executive, showed greater tissue loss on the right side of the brain -- which is not specialized for language or verbal skills. Patients with jobs rated lower for verbal skills, such as art director or flight engineer, showed greater atrophy on the left side of the brain.

Further research will be needed to determine how strong a predictor occupation may be for hemispheric localization of the disease, Spreng says.

The findings are published in the journal Neuropsychologia.

Comments are welcome.


  1. makes me glad my job uses both. I've got enough problems with my old brain pan.

  2. Thanks for the comment Mr. Egor.

    I am thinking that neither job uses either. Been there, done that. Better buy a good crossword book in a hurry.

    Good to hear from you. Take care.