Long hours put workers at dementia risk

February 25th, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 25 (ANI): Long working hours can raise the risk of dementia, a new study has warned.

Whats more, extreme tiredness and tension could be as harmful for the brain as smoking, the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found.

The study found that middle-aged workers clocking up more than 55 hours a week have poorer mental skills, including short-term memory and ability to recall words, than those working fewer than 41 hours.

To reach the conclusion, researchers led by Dr Marianna Virtanen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health monitored 2,214 British civil servants from the 1980s, reports The Telegraph.

Participants in their early 50s were put through a series of brain function tests. Those doing the most overtime recorded lower scores in two of the five key brain function tests - reasoning and vocabulary.

The researchers said: “This study shows that long working hours may have a negative effect on cognitive performance in middle age. The link between cognitive impairment and dementia later in life is clearly established.

“The difference between employees working long hours and those working normal hours is similar in magnitude to that of smoking, a risk factor for dementia.”

Professor Cary Cooper, an expert in workplace stress from Lancaster University, told the Daily Mail: “Working long hours obviously makes you very tired. If you do that on a consistent basis it’’s going to affect your brain function. Long hours are not just bad for health, they are also bad for your performance.” (ANI)

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