Holistic Cognitive Reserve Index (HCRI): A Comprehensive Method of Measuring Cognitive Reserve for Healthy African-American Adults

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Grace Byfield (Research conducted through COAACH/Biology Department)



Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


The concept of Cognitive Reserve (CR) is a relatively novel concept in the realm of cognition and memory. This theory pertains to the idea that the brain can actively compensate for various challenges pertaining to memory or cognition. Creating an approach to methodically measure the level of CR an individual possess is critical, because this could act as an indicator to predict an individual’s chance of developing a form of Alzheimer’s Disease, or a related dementia. The aim of this investigation was to systematically evaluate past and current Cognitive Reserve indices, and create an innovative, multivariable, and culturally appropriate adaptation that will then be applied to African American adults across North Carolina. While previous indices included variations of variables such as education, occupational attainment, and leisure activities, the proposed Holistic Cognitive Reserve Index (HCRI) takes this concept a step further, to include perceived social support, intellectual and leisure activities, along with the standard sociodemographic factors; age, gender, level of education, and occupational attainment. The results of the HCRI will be compared to the data of the Cumulative Stressors and Resiliency Index (CSRI), which is a tool that determines the extent of influence of environmental exposures, environmental hazards, pathogenic factors, and salutogenic factors based on where the prospective individual resides. Once the proposed index has been disseminated, and the data analyzed, the results will provide important insight into what factors could possibly influence CR, leading to alternate methods for measuring the CR of African American Adults, and other populations.

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