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More educated 'lose memory more quickly'

More educated 'lose memory more quickly'
23rd October 2007

More educated sufferers of dementia lose their memory at a faster rate than those with less education, a new study suggests.

Scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University studied 117 people whose education ranged from less than three years of elementary school to postgraduate study.

The research uncovered two distinct trends.

Firstly, for each additional year of formal education, the rapid memory decline associated with oncoming dementia was delayed by around 2.5 months.

Secondly, once that accelerated decline began, the cognitive decline of people with more education accelerated four per cent faster for every additional year of education.

Lead researcher Dr Charles Hall said: "This rapid decline may be explained by how people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve, or the brain’s ability to maintain function in spite of damage.

"So, while they’re often diagnosed with dementia at a later date - which we believe may be because of their ability to hide the symptoms - there's still damage to their brain."

The study appears in the October 23rd issue of the medical journal Neurology.

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