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Cognitive Activities During Adulthood Are More Important than Education in Building Reserve

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2011

Bruce R. Reed
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, California Veterans Administration Northern California Health Care System, Martinez, California
Maritza Dowling
Affiliation:
Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics, School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
Sarah Tomaszewski Farias
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, California
Joshua Sonnen
Affiliation:
Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Milton Strauss
Affiliation:
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Julie A. Schneider
Affiliation:
Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
David A. Bennett
Affiliation:
Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
Dan Mungas
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, California
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Cognitive reserve is thought to reflect life experiences. Which experiences contribute to reserve and their relative importance is not understood. Subjects were 652 autopsied cases from the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Religious Orders Study. Reserve was defined as the residual variance of the regressions of cognitive factors on brain pathology and was captured in a latent variable that was regressed on potential determinants of reserve. Neuropathology variables included Alzheimer's disease markers, Lewy bodies, infarcts, microinfarcts, and brain weight. Cognition was measured with six cognitive domain scores. Determinants of reserve were socioeconomic status (SES), education, leisure cognitive activities at age 40 (CA40) and at study enrollment (CAbaseline) in late life. The four exogenous predictors of reserve were weakly to moderately inter-correlated. In a multivariate model, all except SES had statistically significant effects on Reserve, the strongest of which were CA40 (β = .31) and CAbaseline (β = .28). The Education effect was negative in the full model (β = –.25). Results suggest that leisure cognitive activities throughout adulthood are more important than education in determining reserve. Discrepancies between cognitive activity and education may be informative in estimating late life reserve. (JINS, 2011, 17, 615–624)

Type
Special Series
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2011

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