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Cognitive reserve suggests that the brain copes with brain damage by using pre-existing cognitive processing approaches. In other words, cognitive reserve is the ability to withstand changes in the brain. A higher cognitive reserve is determined by higher education, occupational attainment, performing leisure activities, increasing social networks & interactions, and overall increased brain use in several aspects of life. Furthermore, some epidemiological studies have evidenced that a higher cognitive reserve slows cognitive decline in older adults, and it does in fact decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Study findings have also suggested that people with higher cognitive reserve may have Alzheimer’s disease but still have complete brain function, live symptom free, and withstand changes in the brain for longer periods of time than those with a lower cognitive reserve. Watch the HBO documentary below to fully understand this new and interesting finding regarding one of the most common and incurable forms of dementia. For a bit more information on the relationship between cognitive reserves and alzheimer’s disease, read “Cognitive Reserve in Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease” by Stern Y.

For additional information, visit the Alzheimer’s Project link page on HBO.

IMAGE CREDIT: InstitutDouglas