The influence of cognitive reserve on cognitive decline in later life


  • Low cognitive reserve index and adult reading ability independently increase the risk of cognitive decline.

Why this matters

  • Cognitive decline is a complex, multivariable process with high heterogeneity between individuals, influence by genetics, lifestyle factors, and an individual’s cognitive reserve.

  • Cognitive reserve refers to differences in how individuals can process tasks, which is thought to confer protection against certain brain pathologies such as dementia.

  • Early childhood cognition is a reliable predictor of cognitive aging. At present, it is not fully understood how additional cognitive reserve and lifestyle factors influence cognitive decline. Increasing understanding will enable effective targeting of modifiable risk factors in individuals susceptible to cognitive decline.