NIA Division of Neuroscience sponsored an exploratory workshop on the concepts and research pertaining to cognitive and brain reserve. It has been noted repeatedly there is no clear direct relationship between the degree of brain pathology and the clinical manifestations to a variety of central nervous system insults, such as in stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
The reserve concept—brain or cognitive—is being invoked to address these effects. "Brain reserve" refers to the amount of damage that can be sustained before a threshold is reached for clinical expression and reflects the brain's physical properties such as size, synapse count, dendritic interactions, etc. "Cognitive reserve" refers to brain networks or cognitive functions less susceptible to disruption and reflects the ability to sustain disruption and operate effectively (e.g., through the use of alternative networks or cognitive paradigms).
The objectives of this workshop were to:
- Determine objective definitions of "reserve"
- Elucidate underlying mechanisms
- Develop potential human and animal studies
- Formulate strategies for enhancing reserves
Presentations of recent progress and discussions of key issues formed the basis of the workshop's agenda. Cochairs were Drs. David Bennett and Yaakov Stern.
Dr. Molly Wagster, DN