The study included 117 people who developed dementia out of an original cohort of 488 people. Researchers followed the participants for an average of six years using annual cognitive tests. Study participants ranged in formal education levels of less than three years of elementary school to people with postgraduate education.
The study found for each additional year of formal education, the rapid accelerated memory decline associated with oncoming dementia was delayed by about two-and-a-half months. However, once that accelerated decline stopped, the people with more education saw their rate of cognitive decline accelerate four percent faster for each additional year of education. Past research had shown that people with more education had more rapid memory loss after diagnosis of dementia.
“Higher levels of education delay the onset of dementia, but once it begins, the accelerated memory loss is more rapid in people with more education,” said study author Charles B. Hall, PhD, with Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. “Our study showed that a person with 16 years of formal education would experience a rate of memory decline that is 50 percent faster than someone with just four years of education.”
For example, a college graduate with 16 years of education whose dementia is diagnosed at age 85 would have started to experience accelerated memory decline nearly four years earlier at age 81. While a person with just four years of education who was also diagnosed at age 85 would have begun to experience a less rapid rate of decline around age 79, six years before diagnosis.
“This rapid decline may be explained by how people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve, or the brain’s ability to maintain function in spite of damage,” said Hall. “So while they’re often diagnosed with dementia at a later date, once the cognitive reserve is no longer able to compensate for the damage that’s occurred, then the symptoms emerge.”
Hall says this is the first study to confirm important predictions of the effects of cognitive reserve in people with preclinical dementia. He also notes the study is limited since the participants were born between 1894 and 1908 and their life experiences and education may not represent that of people entering the study age range today.
This study was supported by the National Institute on Aging. Other researchers from the Einstein Aging Study involved in the research included Carol Derby, PhD; Aaron LeValley, MA; Mindy J. Katz, MPH; Joe Verghese, MD; and Richard B. Lipton, MD.
As part of a worldwide initiative led by the Council of Science Editors, the October 23, 2007 issue of Neurology® is a global theme issue. Neurology® is one of 231 journals from around the world participating in this significant event. The Council of Science Editors is organizing this collaboration to bring attention to issues affecting patients and practitioners in other nations with the goal of cultivating interest and advancing research.
To view the list of participating journals and other information on the National Institutes of Health event, visit www.councilscienceeditors.org/globalthemeissue.cfm. A list of citations to all articles published on this topic by the participating journals will be available on this site on October 22, 2007.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 20,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Angela Babb | EurekAlert!
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction