Chernyuk V. I., Bobko N. A., Yavorskiy E. E.
AGE AND EXPERIENCE RELATED CHANGES IN COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE OF SURGEONS WORKING DAILY DUTIES
State Institution "Institute for Occupational Health of National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine", Kyiv
Full article (PDF), ENG
Introduction. Ageing is accompanied by a decline in a velocity of the information processing, possibility to process new and complicated information. At the same time semantic and logical memory, the ability to compare, classify and combine in mental workers remains to be high, owing to the professional importance of these characteristics. However, harmful work place conditions could affect cognitive performance.
Purpose of the study. To reveal age and experience related changes in cognitive functions of surgeons working daily duties. Materials and methods. 64 physicians of surgical specialties were observed at their workplaces, using computer based tests on cognitive performance. Age of subjects was 24–62 years, the overall work experience – 1–42 years, experience in profession – 1–39 years, experience in daily duties – up to 39 years, the experience in weekly daily duties – up to 33 years. The Pearson’s correlation at the value p<0, 05 was considered as a significant one, at the value 0,05 < p < 0,10 – as a trend.
Results. Normal age and experience related worsening in short-term memory, attention switching, attention concentration velocity, under time pressure, also, in attention concentration productivity were revealed. At the same time, with an increase in age and experience the significant improvement in the quality of attention concentration was found in surgeons. Under time pressure, its keeping at the same level, with an increase in daily duty experience, accuracy of 2-second intervals’ reproduction significantly reduced (of 3–5-second ones – did not change).
Conclusions. The cognitive performance of surgeons is the integral result of the normal age-related decline and professionally caused improvement, preservation (by virtue of the professional relevance) or deterioration (due to occupational hazards) in some functions of the higher nervous activity. The observed age and experience related improvement in the quality of attention concentration can reflect the professional importance of this characteristic for surgeons’ work. The deterioration in the accuracy of the short time intervals’ reproduction could be linked with the accelerated aging in this function under systematic night duties.
Key words: ageing, memory, attention, time perception, information flow processing
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