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The impact of employment on cognition and cognitive reserve: implications across diseases and aging

Authors Vance DE, Bail J, Enah CC, Palmer JJ, Hoenig AK

Received 23 June 2016

Accepted for publication 13 September 2016

Published 29 November 2016 Volume 2016:6 Pages 61—71

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NRR.S115625

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Cindy Hudson

David E Vance,1 Jennifer Bail,1 Comfort C Enah,1 Jennifer J Palmer,2 Anna K Hoenig1

1School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2School of Nursing, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL, USA

Abstract: Employment requires one to learn new skills, establish a routine, and engage socially, all of which can also provide purpose or meaning to one’s life and provide income. All of these can directly or indirectly bolster cognitive reserve, which may protect cognitive health, especially as one ages. Unfortunately, if one is incapacitated due to illness, such as depression, HIV, or other diseases and chronic conditions, it may necessitate reduction/withdrawal from employment, which could limit employment-induced cognitive health benefits. This article examines these issues within the framework of neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve, thus providing implications for practice and research for nurses and health care professionals.

Keywords: HIV, breast cancer, depression, neuroplasticity, occupation, morbidities, health behaviors

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