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
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.”