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Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2012 Feb;22(1):99-105, viii-iv. doi: 10.1016/j.nic.2011.11.006. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Reserve, brain changes, and decline.

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Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Department of Bio-Medical Physics, NHS-Grampian and the University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK.


Reserve refers to the brain's ability to cope with increasing damage. There is no direct measure of reserve, but it is commonly reflected in the literature by proxies such as brain volume, head size, education, occupation, socioeconomic status, and mental and physical engagement. This article provides an overview of the concepts and applications being used to explore reserve, and discusses how these empiric proxies of reserve, their hypothesized biological mechanisms, and the apparent protection from age-related disease are connected.

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