With traits such as hearing loss, depression and social isolation showing in both agriculture workers and those who suffer with dementia, University of Iowa College of Public Health assistant professor, Kanika Arora wanted to find out if there was a connection.
In the first of its kind to the U.S. study, researches used previous data from the Health and Retirement Study to find that agriculture workers scored lower on tests related to memory, attention, and processing speed.
That means those who held long term jobs in agriculture, forestry and fishery had a 46% greater chance of having dementia.
Hundreds of farmers call Iowa home, and many of them work past the age of standard retirement, so this raises concerns for a possible delay in a dementia diagnosis.
"As far as Iowans are concerned, this important for 2 reasons. How to remain productive on the farm and how to maintain safety given memory loss, language problems and other unpredictable behaviors that come with dementia," said Arora.
Researchers can not directly examine the role of pesticide exposure to dementia, but previous studies on the amount of exposure to ag workers show the same test scores. Arora hopes future research is done one this connection.
You can view the whole study here.