A lot of research has found that education provides some protection from waning mental function. The theory is that people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve, basically something of an extra buffer against the effects of decline. But it's a bit of a double-edged sword. "People who are more highly educated tend to get Alzheimer's at a later age but once they get it, they're getting it at a higher load of the disease and appear to decline at a faster rate," says Verghese.
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