Imaging cognitive reserve

Stern, Yaakov; Scarmeas, Nikolaos; Habeck, Christian

We review three studies that attempt to explore the neural substrates of cognitive reserve (CR). All studies utilize two conditions of a visual recognition task: a low demand condition, and another where difficulty was titrated such that all subjects performed at 75% recognition accuracy. We hypothesized that there would be different patterns of task-related activation as a function of a proxy measure of CR. The first two studies focused on young subjects, and found either brain areas or brain networks where the amount of increased activation from low to titrated demand correlated with CR. The third study compared activation patterns of young and elderly individuals. As in the previous studies, brain areas were found in both groups where there was differential activation as a function of CR. Most notable were locations where the relation between activation and CR differed across the two groups. These findings provide a basis for a preliminary neural implementation of cognitive reserve. They also suggest that there may be a reorganization of the neural implementation of reserve in normal ageing, which may constitute compensation for the neural effects of ageing.



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International Journal of Psychology

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February 11, 2022

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