“The concept of cognitive reserve hypothesizes that intellectually stimulating activities provide resilience against brain pathology/disease. Whereas brain abnormalities and cognitive impairment are frequently reported in bipolar disorder, it is unknown whether the impact of brain alterations can be lessened by higher cognitive reserve in these patients.”

Rolstad and colleagues tested if higher cognitive reserve would reduce the influence of total volumes of deep white matter hypointensities, ventricular cerebrospinal fluid, and prefrontal cortex on memory, executive, and attention/speed functions in patients with bipolar disorder. Linear regression models with interaction terms for cognitive reserve and brain volumes were applied. The study concluded that the concept of cognitive reserve is applicable to bipolar disorder. Higher reserve capacity in bipolar disorder alters the relationship between brain pathology and clinical presentation.


Rolstad S, Abé C, Olsson E, Eckerström C, Landén M: Cognitive reserve lessens the burden of white matter lesions on executive functions in bipolar disorder. Psychol. Med. 46(15): 3095-3104 (2016).



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