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Brain and Cognitive Reserve Exhibit Protective Effect Against Cognitive Decline in MS: Study

According to researchers, brain and cognitive reserve may provide a long-term protective effect against cognitive decline in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Lead study author James Sumowski, PhD, and John DeLuca, PhD, hail from Kessler Foundation. Additional study co-authors were based out of the Manhattan Memory Center, New York, NY, the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy, and the University of Belgrade, Serbia.

DeLuca explains that the study aims to confirm why “some people with MS experience disabling symptoms of cognitive decline, while others maintain their cognitive abilities despite neuroimaging evidence of significant disease progression? Can the theories of brain reserve and cognitive research explain this dichotomy? Can we identify predictors of cognitive decline?”

A news release from Kessler Foundation notes that during the study, memory, cognitive efficiency, vocabulary, brain volume, and disease progression on MRI were evaluated in 40 patients with MS at baseline and at a 4.5-year follow-up. After controlling for disease progression, the release states that scientists assessed the impact of brain volume and intellectual enrichment on cognitive decline.

Sumowski says the study’s results reinforced the protective effects of brain reserve and cognitive reserve.

“Patients with greater intellectual enrichment experienced lesser degrees of cognitive decline. Those with greater brain reserve showed a protective effect for cognitive efficiency. This study not only confirms these protective effects of brain and cognitive reserve, it shows that these beneficial effects persist for years,” Sumowski emphasizes.

Source: Kessler Foundation