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Demanding careers may thwart Alzheimer's

People who spend many years in mentally taxing jobs are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than are people who do more-routine work, a report in the Aug. 10 Neurology suggests.

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland identified 122 people with Alzheimer's disease and 235 others without it. All were over age 60. The two groups were similar in race, gender, and education level.

Sociologist Kathleen A. Smyth and her colleagues interviewed the people who were free of Alzheimer's and questioned close relatives of the Alzheimer's patients. The scientists then rated each person's career according to its mental demands. They classified the jobs on a scale ranging from multifaceted and creative to repetitious and routine.

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