LW3: Building Cognitive Reserve

Building Cognitive reserve:


With population aging, cognitive impairment and dementia are common among older adults. Although there is a lack of efficacious treatment for dementia, a growing body of evidence suggests that dementia might be prevented by modifying certain risk factors. 

Many people may tolerate considerable dementia-related brain pathology without expressing the clinical syndrome of dementia. 

The concept of cognitive reserve (CR) explains such tolerance, and various life exposures seem to be associated with resilience against age- or pathology-related impairment of cognitive function.

Cognitive reserve (an evolving concept by Dr. Yaakon Stern : https://youtu.be/elYZvzxH3Co?si=aHGR1SBjYdh5pxYY ) refers to the brain’s ability to withstand age-related changes or neurological damage without exhibiting noticeable cognitive decline. It acts as a protective mechanism, allowing individuals to maintain normal cognitive function despite the presence of brain pathology. Cognitive reserve is influenced by various factors, including education, intellectual stimulation, social engagement, and a healthy lifestyle. It is important because a higher cognitive reserve is associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia and other cognitive disorders. It can also enhance the brain’s capacity to compensate for neurological damage, leading to better cognitive outcomes and improved quality of life as we age.

As with physical exercise, some activities seem to provide more of a cognitive workout than others. For example reading newspapers had less effect than reading books. In addition, watching less TV was more favorable for cognitive health than watching more TV. The important part may be choosing those activities that absorb your mind, draw you in and engage your thought processes to bring you in a state of ‘flow’. ( https://youtu.be/znwUCNrjpD4?si=-1ZQES7qppXQluSY )

In other words, if you start to have difficulties with anything, your best strategy is not to give up, but to actively explore new ways of doing it.

So, we should be aiming for two things in preventing cognitive decline. The first is in ‘growing’ brain tissue: making new neurons ( neuro-genesis) , and the second is making new connections ( neuro-plasticity). This is to counteract the shrinkage (brain atrophy) that tends to occur with age.

Day 1: What is cognitive reserve ?

1.1: The birth of the concept

1.2: Benefits of a larger cognitive reserve

1.3: Measures of cognitive reserve

1.4: Brain reserve, cognitive reserve and related terms

1.5: Superagers : 80+ and cognitively alert

Day 2: How to build a cognitive reserve ?

2.1: Eat a plant-based diet and stay hydrated

2.2: Exercise regularly 

2.3: Get enough sleep and manage your stress

2.4: Nurture social contacts 

2.5: Continue to challenge your brain

This course is offered during the third weekend of every month.

Enrolment and fee payment: 

  • As the course is delivered through WhatsApp, the enrolment process is simply that of sending a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724
  • The fee for the above weekend course is Rs 1000/- and can be easily remitted through PayTM to MM Pant ( mobile number : +919810073724).
  • For those who would rather pay into a Bank account, the relevant information is : 
  • Madan Mohan Pant
  • HDFC Bank, Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon 
            A/c 26451000000301
  • (The account number is 26451 followed by six zeroes followed by 301)

Further information will be provided to those who express interest by sending a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724