Intended for healthcare professionals


Education, dementia, . . . and other stories

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 10 June 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1414

Cognitive reserve

People with high levels of education, demanding occupations, and intellectually active leisure pursuits seem better able to cope with neurodegenerative conditions. This has given rise to the concept of cognitive reserve. Among 12 000 participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, those who scored highly on an index of cognitive reserve had a lower risk of developing dementia over 15 years of follow-up (Br J Psych doi:10.1192/bjp.2020.54). But there’s an element of circularity here because cognitive reserve was estimated from measures of education, occupation, and leisure activities.

Education and dementia

A natural experiment in Sweden casts some light on how education affects later risk of dementia. …

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