In exploring the cognitive reserve hypothesis in persons with substantial Alzheimer disease neuropathology, we aimed to determine the extent to which educational attainment and densities of diffuse plaques, neuritic plaques, and neurofi-brillary tangles predict dementia. Participants were 1563 individuals aged 65 years or above who were assessed for dementia within 1 year of death. Generalized linear mixed models were used to examine whether education and density ratings of diffuse plaques and neuritic plaques, and neurofi-brillary tangle stage were associated with a dementia diagnosis. Education interacted with densities of neuritic plaques to predict dementia. Tangle density independently predicted dementia, but did not interact with education. Diffuse plaque density was unrelated to dementia when adjusted for densities of neuritic plaques and tangles. Among individuals with Alzheimer disease neuropathology, educational attainment, as a surrogate of cognitive reserve, modifies the influence of neuritic, but not diffuse, plaque neuropathology on the expression of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer disease and associated disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Cognitive reserve
  • Education
  • Neuropathology


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