Individuals working in low paid jobs are 10% more likely to develop dementia compared to those in higher paid professions, latest evidence has identified.

Cleaners, fast food workers and teaching assistants are particularly at risk of developing the memory loss condition in the future, the study has reported.

Researchers from New York’s Columbia University measured the annual incomes of 2,900 people in their 50s and 60s.

In addition, the team of scientists examined the cognitive ability of each participant by memory testing them to assess whether their brain function has changed over time.

They found that the participants with a salary two-thirds lower than the median wage experienced more cognitive decline than those with a higher income.

On average, annual salaries have fallen to their lowest point in 20 years, new data has demonstrated.

Main author Dr Katrina Kezios said: “Sustained exposure to low wages during peak earning years is associated with accelerated memory decline later in life.”

Prior studies have identified that individuals with a lower annual income tend to have an inactive lifestyle, which includes smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and following a poor diet.

Additionally, lower paid careers are also associated with heart complications and type 2 diabetes, the results have shown.

Fellow academic Dr Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri said: “Our findings suggest social policies that enhance the financial well-being of low-wage workers may be especially beneficial for cognitive health.

“Future work should rigorously examine the number of dementia cases and excess years of cognitive aging that could be prevented under different hypothetical scenarios that would increase the minimum hourly wage.”

The study has been published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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