Long-term occupational exposure and the diagnosis of dementia

Neurotoxicology. 1988 Fall;9(3):391-400.


Several experiments are reported which concern the possible role of long-term occupational exposure in the etiology of dementia. A case study of a male with memory impairment thought to be due to Alzheimer's disease is reported. Neuropsychological testing revealed impairments in short-term memory, which gradually cleared over months. Analyses uncovered extremely high serum levels of a solvent (perchlorethylene) this individual had used for decades in a dry-cleaning business. A case-series is also reported in which four individuals with similar patterns of neuropsychological performance were noted to share occupational exposure to metal vapors. The results of a preliminary case-control study are also reported in which an increased incidence of long-term occupational exposure to metals and solvents was noted in patients with Alzheimer's disease. These results suggest that the role of long-term occupational exposure needs to be thoroughly investigated in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / toxicity*
  • Alzheimer Disease / chemically induced
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Dementia / chemically induced
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Metals / toxicity
  • Solvents / toxicity
  • Tetrachloroethylene / toxicity
  • Time Factors


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Metals
  • Solvents
  • Tetrachloroethylene