Cognitive Reserve Not sure about you, but this 62 year old brain needs all the cognitive reserve it can get.So perhaps you are wondering what cognitive reserve is before you order some for yourself?"In 1988 a study published in Annals of Neurology reporting findings from post-mortemexaminations on 137 elderly persons unexpectedly revealed that there was a discrepancy betweenthe degree of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology and the clinical manifestations of the disease.This is to say that some participants whose brains had extensive Alzheimer's disease pathology,clinically had no or very little manifestations of the disease. Furthermore, the study showed thatthese persons had higher brain weights and greater number of neurons as compared to age-matched controls. The investigators speculated with two possible explanations for thisphenomenon: these people may have had incipient Alzheimer's disease but somehow avoided theloss of large numbers of neurons, or alternatively, started with larger brains and more neuronsand thus might be said to have had a greater "reserve". This is the first time this term has beenused in the literature in this context." WikipediaSo cognitive reserve is higher brain weight and a larger amount of neurons, and those neuronsbasically could reroute signals around alzheimer's plaques in the brain so the individual couldcontinue to function appropriately.I believe the subjects in that study were retired nuns who lived in Mankato, Minnesota.So now are you interested in going out to buy some cognitive reserve?Actually you can only buy part of it. The rest of cognitive reserve is going to come from yourlifestyle, and these days folks are calling that 'brain fitness'.Brain fitness and the heavier brains that come from it result from attending daily to the pillars of brain fitness, which are usually described as physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stressmanagement, and novel learning experiences, which was a very important part of cognitivereserve tool box for the nuns in the study mentioned above. They continued to read challengingmaterial for example, and engage in social activities, well into their 90's.The good news is that we can begin working on this at any age, and make improvements in ourcognitive reserve.For a great overview of the brain fitness for aging successfully model, readBrainfit for LifebySimon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan.The most important pillar of cognitive reserve is the physical exercise pillar, which could be badnews if you have been sedentary for a long time.