Whitepaper: Defining and investigating cognitive reserve, brain reserve, and brain maintenance

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • and the Reserve, Resilience and Protective Factors PIA Empirical Definitions and Conceptual Frameworks Workgroup - (Author)
  • Chair of Genomics of Regeneration
  • German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dresden site (Partner: DZNE of the Helmholtz Association)
  • Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden
  • Columbia University
  • Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN
  • University of Barcelona
  • August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute
  • University of Montreal
  • Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
  • Université de Caen
  • Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • University of California at San Diego
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Helsinki
  • Stony Brook University
  • CITA-Alzheimer Foundation
  • University of Kentucky
  • Brown University
  • Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • University of Genoa
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
  • Stanford Medicine
  • University of British Columbia


Several concepts, which in the aggregate get might be used to account for “resilience” against age- and disease-related changes, have been the subject of much research. These include brain reserve, cognitive reserve, and brain maintenance. However, different investigators have use these terms in different ways, and there has never been an attempt to arrive at consensus on the definition of these concepts. Furthermore, there has been confusion regarding the measurement of these constructs and the appropriate ways to apply them to research. Therefore the reserve, resilience, and protective factors professional interest area, established under the auspices of the Alzheimer's Association, established a whitepaper workgroup to develop consensus definitions for cognitive reserve, brain reserve, and brain maintenance. The workgroup also evaluated measures that have been used to implement these concepts in research settings and developed guidelines for research that explores or utilizes these concepts. The workgroup hopes that this whitepaper will form a reference point for researchers in this area and facilitate research by supplying a common language.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1311
Number of pages7
Journal Alzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

External IDs

PubMed 30222945
ORCID /0000-0002-5304-4061/work/142238803


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Alzheimer's disease, Cognition, Epidemiology, Functional imaging, Structural imaging