Collaboratory on Research Definitions for Reserve & Resilience in Cognitive Aging and Dementia
Along with the National Institute on Aging, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation is proud to have supported the three-year Collaboratory on Research Definitions for Reserve and Resilience in Cognitive Aging and Dementia.
The Collaboratory was established in 2019 to institute a process to develop operational definitions, research guidelines and data sharing platforms for cognitive reserve and related concepts with consensus and assistance from the research community.
To reach its goal, the Collaboratory held three cross-discipline workshops, each sponsored by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation. The workshops brought investigators together to discuss and come to consensus on the reserve and resilience concepts, create focused work groups examining each of the issues, fund pilot grants designed to further the understanding and research applicability of the concepts, and to develop data sharing and information exchange platforms to help guide research in this area.
Research indicates that specific life exposures and genetic factors contribute to some people being more resilient than others, with lower rates of cognitive decline with aging and reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD).
The factors associated with resilience play an important role in developing interventions and health policies. There are likely several complex and highly interactive mechanisms that lead to these individual differences in vulnerability to decline, which are likely reliant on both structural and functional brain mechanisms.
Investigators in this area have employed many terms encapsulating individual differences including resilience, cognitive reserve, brain reserve, brain maintenance, and compensation. In addition, there are terms commonly used in cognitive neuroscience studies of aging, such as efficiency, capacity, and compensation. However, the definitions of these concepts differ across researchers, and the translation from human to animal research is not well developed, making it important to bring together researchers from basic neuroscience to human studies to develop operational definitions for these concepts.
In addition to developing the definitions, there is also a need to translate the related concepts to guide research on all levels of epidemiologic, clinical, intervention, imaging and basic animal research. A particular challenge facing the Consortium was to identify corresponding concepts in neurobiology, animal models and models at the level of cells and molecules and approaches bridging those levels of analysis.
A novel approach to workshop where researchers from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to brainstorm the concept of reserve and resilience with each other and bring about consensus-driven operational definitions.
Held September 9-10, 2019
Sponsored in part by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the first workshop followed a unique format where 24 experts in the field were invited to provide their specific operational definitions for concepts related to reserve and resilience. The workshop highlighted the diversity of terms and ideas regarding reserve and resilience.
Counting an audience of 285 researchers from across the globe, the workshop’s breakout sessions yielded vigorous discussion and made it clear that more work was needed to reach consensus on definitions. The executive committee, speakers and chairs agreed to engage in multiple projects over the next year to move the process forward.
First Workshop Deliverables included:
- Consensus driven operational definitions and framework for the concepts.
- Formation of workgroups to address key programmatic issues for the research on the lines of the defined concepts.
Visit the Reserve and Resilience Collaboratory website to learn more about the first workshop, access the workshop program, meet the panelists and view the presentation recordings.
Held September 14-15, 2020
Leading up to the second workshop, a call for Pilot Project proposals was issued in April 2020. Of the 46 applications submitted, the Collaboratory selected 12 projects to fund with contributions from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation facilitating funding for two of the 12 awarded projects.
Held online in September, the Second Workshop on Research Definitions for Reserve and Resilience in Cognitive Aging and Dementia focused on the awarded pilot projects with the goal of developing operational definitions for research in reserve and resilience. The pilot project study designs were presented to provoke discussion and reinforce the idea that agreement on research procedures in the field would help unify the field.
With more than 500 attendees participating in the two-day online workshop, the resulting discussion was very successful and the workshop met its goal of fostering consensus on how to design research investigating reserve and resilience.
Visit the Reserve and Resilience Collaboratory website to learn more about the second workshop, access the workshop program, meet the panelists and view the presentation recordings.
Held October 31 – November 1, 2021
The third and final workshop attracted 161 virtual participants and 118 in-person attendees. The workshop began with Dr. Yaakov Stern, Collaboratory Chair, recapping the history of the Collaboratory and the process to develop the new Framework for Terms Used in Research of Reserve and Resilience. The Framework incorporates formal definitions and operational research definitions for three terms: cognitive reserve, brain maintenance, and brain reserve.
The definitions included in the Framework were carefully crafted to apply to both human and nonhuman research with the goal that the terms will be widely used by researchers to facilitate communication in the field.
With the three workshops concluded, the Collaboratory plans to publish the Framework and brief descriptions of the 12 pilot projects. The Collaboratory also supports publishing the pilot project results in an open-source book. The published reports and many other sources of information, including slides and talks from all three Workshops, guides to data sharing and lists of researchers in the field will all remain available on the Collaboratory website with the hope that the website serves as a continuous resource for cognitive decline and dementia investigators.
Click here for a full report on the third workshop and visit the Reserve and Resilience Collaboratory website to learn more about the third workshop, access the workshop program, meet the panelists and view the presentation recordings.