The influence of cognitive reserve in the protection of the cognitive status after an acquired brain injury: a systematic review

Inês Nunes*, Maria Vânia Silva Nunes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Cognitive Reserve (CR) hypothesis was introduced to account for the variability in cognitive performance of patients with similar degrees of brain injury or pathology. The individual variability of CR is modulated by the interaction of innate capacities and exposures throughout life, which can act as protectors against neuropathology's clinical effects. Individuals with higher CR appear to have better cognitive performance after a brain injury. The present review aimed to identify and map the scientific evidence available in literature regarding CR's influence in protecting the cognitive status after an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Method A systematic review was performed for published studies until October 2020 in PubMed, Scopus, and CINAHL electronic databases. Studies regarding CR's influence in protecting the cognitive status after an ABI were included in this review. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess risk of bias in the included studies. This systematic review was recorded in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) under the number CRD42021236594. Results Twenty-one studies published between 2003 and 2020 were selected and analyzed. The literature analysis showed that CR has a positive effect on cognitive status after an ABI. Various proxies were used to estimate CR, including estimated premorbid IQ, education, occupation attainment, socioeconomic status, leisure activities, bilingualism, and social integration. CR proxies constitute a set of variables that may have a significant influence on cognitive status. Higher CR levels were associated with lower cognitive impairment after an ABI. Conclusions Although more research is necessary for a complete understanding of CR's impact on cognition, the synthesis of these studies confirmed that there is evidence on the beneficial impact of CR on cognitive status after an ABI. These findings support CR's cognitive status role following an ABI and may provide additional information for prognosis and rehabilitation plans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-860
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Volume43
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Acquired brain injury
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive function
  • Cognitive reserve
  • Systematic review

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