Assessment of Cognitive Reserve using Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Author(s): Andrei V. Medvedev

Cognitive reserve (CR) is the ability to preserve cognitive functions in the presence of brain pathology. In the context of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), patients with higher CR show better cognitive performance relative to brain damage therefore higher CR reduces the risk of dementia. There is a strong need to develop a neurophysiological biomarker of CR given the growing interest in understanding protective brain mechanisms in AD. FMRI studies indicate that frontoparietal network plays an important role in cognitive reserve. We calculated intraregional functional connectivity of lateral prefrontal cortex (FC LPFC) using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in the resting state of 13 healthy individuals who were also assessed for IQ and motoric skills (the Purdue Pegboard test, PPT). FC LPFC was found to positively correlate with IQ (a proxy measure of cognitive reserve) while showing a lack of or negative correlation with the PPT scores. The results demonstrate that the cost-effective, noninvasive and widely applicable fNIRS technology can be used to evaluate cognitive reserve in individuals at risk for and patients with AD with possible numerous applications in the context of healthy aging and other age-related cognitive disorders.

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