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Columbia University Medical Center researchers have found a brain network within the frontal lobe that is associated with cognitive reserve and is thought to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive reserve is developed by regularly “exercising” the brain by engaging in mentally-stimulating activities such as taking classes, doing a daily crossword puzzle, or volunteering.

There appears to be a correlation of cognitive reserve with IQ and educational background, with higher levels corresponding with higher levels of cognitive reserve. It seems that individuals with lower cognitive reserves are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease sooner than those with high levels of cognitive reserve.

Two age groups participated in the study. The younger subjects were between 18-30 and the elderly were between 65-80. Since the cognitive reserve network was more often found in the younger participants there is speculation that aging may play a part in the degradation of cognitive reserve process.