We previously reported an inverse relation between parietal cerebral blood flow and years of education in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients matched for clinical severity. This suggested that the clinical manifestation of advancing AD pathology is delayed in patients with higher educational attainment. Other aspects of life experience may also provide a reserve against the clinical expression of AD. To test this hypothesis, we classified the primary lifetime occupations of 51 AD patients using the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, published by the US Department of Labor, and derived six factor scores describing intellectual, interpersonal, and physical job demands. Regional cerebral blood flow was measured using the xenon-133 inhalation method. After controlling for age, clinical dementia severity, and education, there was less relative perfusion in the parietal region in subjects whose occupations were associated with higher interpersonal skills and physical demands factor scores. We conclude that independent of education, aspects of occupational experience may provide a reserve that delays the clinical manifestation of AD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology