Occupational characteristics and cognitive performance among elderly male twins.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of occupational characteristics on cognitive status change in members of the NAS-NRC Twins Registry of World War II veterans. METHODS: Participants completed the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) on three occasions spanning a period of approximately 7 years. Based on factor analysis, occupational characteristics were interpreted as reflecting general intellectual demands (GI), human interaction and communication (HC), physical exertion (PE), and visual attention (VA). RESULTS: Based on regression analysis of TICS-m change that was dependent on twin pairing and additionally covarying for education, age at each testing event, medical conditions, and initial TICS-m score, higher GI was associated with a modest longitudinal improvement in TICS-m performance, whereas higher PE and VA were both associated with a modest decline. Subsequent analysis revealed that these significant effects were present among dizygotic twins, but not among monozygotic twins. CONCLUSIONS: Previous findings of a relationship between occupational characteristics and cognitive performance in later life may be partially explained by genetic factors; however, until these genes are identified, occupational characteristics may be useful markers.
Potter, GG; Plassman, BL; Helms, MJ; Foster, SM; Edwards, NW
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