Harvard Health Letter

Putting more brain in the bank

Cognitive reserve can protect you from the effects of Alzheimer's and other diseases that affect the brain.

Consider two older people with the same amount of Alzheimer's disease–related plaques and tangles in their brains. One person has some memory miscues now and then, but continues to lead a normal life. The other has the severe loss of memory and other cognitive deficits that come with Alzheimer's disease. Why the difference? One explanation is that they had differing amounts of cognitive reserve.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »