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Sending Your Grandparents to University Increases Cognitive Reserve: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project.

Lenehan, ME and Summers, MJ and Saunders, NL and Summers, JJ and Ward, DD and Ritchie, K and Vickers, JC (2016) Sending Your Grandparents to University Increases Cognitive Reserve: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project. Neuropsychology, 30 (5). pp. 525-531. ISSN 0894-4105

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Abstract

Increasing an individual’s level of cognitive reserve (CR) has been suggested as a nonpharmacological
approach to reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. We examined changes in CR in older
adults participating over 4 years in the Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project. Method: A sample of 459
healthy older adults between 50 and 79 years of age underwent a comprehensive annual assessment of
current CR, neuropsychological function, and psychosocial factors over a 4-year period. The intervention
group of 359 older adults (M � 59.61 years, SD � 6.67) having completed a minimum of 12 months
part-time university study were compared against a control reference group of 100 adults (M � 62.49
years, SD � 6.24) who did not engage in further education. Results: Growth mixture modeling
demonstrated that 44.3% of the control sample showed no change in CR, whereas 92.5% of the further
education participants displayed a significant linear increase in CR over the 4 years of the study. These
results indicate that older adults engaging in high-level mental stimulation display an increase in CR over
a 4-year period. Conclusion: Increasing mental activity in older adulthood may be a viable strategy to
improve cognitive function and offset cognitive decline associated with normal aging.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1109 Neurosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2016 09:16
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2016 09:16
DOI or Identification number: 10.1037/neu0000249
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3836

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