A new study has found that highly educated individuals with
Alzheimer’s can cope better with the disease thanks to cognitive
reserves presumably built up from years of performing complex
Scientists have long theorized that the human brain is capable of
building up a cognitive reserve, which would help the brain cope with
damage in order to maintain a relatively preserved functional level.
order to understand the efficacy of these cognitive reserves,
researchers looked at the brain activity of individuals with higher (more than 12 years)
and lower (less than 12 years) levels of education who had mild
cognitive impairment that progressed to Alzheimer's disease.
The study included 64 individuals with Alzheimer's disease
and 90 individuals with no cognitive problems to compare as a control
group. After being divided into two groups based on education level, all
participants were given PET scans to compare their metabolic brain
The highest metabolic activity was seen in highly
educated individuals with Alzheimer's disease. This activity
rate was higher than both the less educated individuals with Alzheimer's and even the highly educated control individuals.
results of the scans suggested that neural reserves and neural
compensation are activated in highly educated individuals with Alzheimer's disease.
"This work supports the notion that employing the brain in complex
tasks and developing our own education may help in forming stronger
'defenses' against cognitive deterioration once Alzheimer’s knocks at
our door," said Silvia Morbelli, MD, lead author of the
So keep on challenging your brain and build the elasticity that may help you if beset by Alzheimer's Disease.