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Quantifying Cognitive Reserve in Older Adults by Decomposing Episodic Memory Variance: Replication and Extension

Zahodne, Laura B.; Manly, Jennifer J.; Brickman, Adam M.; Siedlecki, Karen L.; DeCarli, Charles; Stern, Yaakov

The theory of cognitive reserve attempts to explain why some individuals are more resilient to age-related brain pathology. Efforts to explore reserve have been hindered by measurement difficulties. Reed et al. (2010) proposed quantifying reserve as residual variance in episodic memory performance that remains after accounting for demographic factors and brain pathology (whole brain, hippocampal, and white matter hyperintensity volumes). This residual variance represents the discrepancy between an individual's predicted and actual memory performance. The goals of the present study were to extend these methods to a larger, community-based sample and to investigate whether the residual reserve variable is explained by age, predicts longitudinal changes in language, and predicts dementia conversion independent of age. Results support this operational measure of reserve. The residual reserve variable was associated with higher reading ability, lower likelihood of meeting criteria for mild cognitive impairment, lower odds of dementia conversion in dependent of age, and less decline in language abilities over 3 years. Finally, the residual reserve variable moderated the negative impact of memory variance explained by brain pathology on language decline. This method has the potential to facilitate research on the mechanisms of cognitive reserve and the efficacy of interventions designed to impart reserve.

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Also Published In

Title
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355617713000738

More About This Work

Academic Units
Neurology
Published Here
February 24, 2018
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