Education and Dementia: the Cognitive Reserve Hypothesis

Summary

Cognitive reserve (CR) or brain reserve capacity is a hypothesis about why people with a  higher IQ, education or level of occupational attainment appear to have a lower risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or vascular dementia (VaD).

Persons with higher initial cognitive reserve are presumed to be able to withstand greater brain pathology before manifesting the clinical symptoms of dementia. Clinical disease onset among people with initially greater cognitive reserve subsequently triggers an apparently faster decline in cognition and function, and increased mortality.

This study took education as a proxy measure of CR to review the evidence for the CR hypothesis. The studies analysed covered 437,477 subjects. Low educational attainment increased the risk of dementia. Higher education was associated with apparent “protective effects” against developing recognisable dementia, but clinical disease onset later on resulted in faster declines in cognition, function and brain pathology.

The authors conclude that a wide range of observational studies from diverse settings provide robust support for the CR hypothesis, and go on to suggest that the CR hypothesis might offer approaches to dementia prevention (in the short-term / medium-term).

Full Text Link

Reference

Meng, X. D’Arcy, C. (2012). Education and dementia in the context of the cognitive reserve hypothesis: a systematic review with meta-analyses and qualitative analyses. PloS One, 2012, Vol.7(6), e38268. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in For Doctors (mostly), For Researchers (mostly), International, Proposed for Next Newsletter, Quick Insights, Systematic Reviews, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.