A recent study from Johns Hopkins University found that an individual’s level of education may indicate how well someone will recover from an acute, traumatic brain injury, reports CBS News. A patient’s “cognitive reserve” refers to retained mental function after brain damage, and scientists have discovered that one may retain more abilities the higher the amount of education he or she has obtained.

Researchers found that “adults with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries who had earned at least an undergraduate degree were more than seven times as likely to completely recover from their injury than those who didn't finish high school.” The correlation has doctors wondering if effective brain use in one’s lifetime through education could have protective effects following an acute injury.

The discovery is in keeping with similar research in dementia patients, which suggests that actively using one’s brain for education may slow progression of cognitive impairment.

While the study may not demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship, it bolsters arguments for keeping the mind active in support of brain health.

The rates of recovery might also shed light on therapy treatment approaches. Since addressing a patient’s psychological health is a role of occupational therapy, this new insight into a patient’s potential for recovery could help OTs better understand an individual’s mental state and motivation in therapy.

To read more about the implications of the study’s findings, visit “People with More Education May Recover Better from Brain Injury.”

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services