We may finally know how cognitive reserve protects against Alzheimer’s

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IF I by no means thought of dementia earlier than, I considered little else after the situation manifested in my mom. The odd factor was that dementia – Alzheimer’s illness, in her case – didn’t happen to me till she requested, out of the blue, once we had first met.

My failure to recognise the extent of her cognitive decline was born partly of denial, but additionally as a result of she was likely compensating for her galloping mind harm, taking cerebral detours across the potholes dug by her situation. In spite of everything, she had completed this earlier than. Following a stroke 4 years beforehand, she had misplaced the flexibility to learn; after a lot laborious work, she realized the ability once more.

So how come this skill to adapt, which appeared to maintain her after her stroke, was unable to resist the pathology of dementia? This additionally made me take into consideration my very own resilience to cognitive decline and what, if something, I might do about it.

We’ve got recognized for nearly three many years that some peoples’ brains can operate usually even when riddled with the plaques and different harm related to dementia, because of an enigmatic capability referred to as cognitive reserve. But regardless of rising proof of its significance, it has been difficult to pin down how this high quality operates within the mind. Now, we’re lastly starting to grasp the mechanisms that underlie cognitive reserve, opening up potential new dementia therapies and recent concepts about how we are able to shield our considering skills into previous age. And it seems that obsessing about studying one other language or doing a each day crossword is perhaps lacking the larger image.

What’s cognitive reserve?

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