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

Lenehan, ME, Summers, MJ, Saunders, NL, Summers, JJ, Ward, DD, Ritchie, K and Vickers, JC (2015) 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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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: 04 Sep 2021 12:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1037/neu0000249
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3836
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