Cognitive reserve protects language functions in patients with brain tumours

Fabio Campanella, Giorgio Arcara, Cristiano Crescentini, Franco Fabbro, Miran Skrap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive reserve (CR) theory suggests that individual differences in general intelligence (IQ), occupational attainment or participation in leisure/recreational activities protect against cognitive decline. However the relationship between CR and cognitive functioning in patients with brain tumours has been very rarely investigated in past research. The present study systematically assesses whether CR concept can also be applied to cognitive functions of neurosurgical patients affected by brain tumours. We investigated the role of different CR proxies (education level, premorbid IQ, current IQ, working and leisure activity) in protecting language against brain tumours and surgery effects, considering interactions with demographic (sex/age), anatomical (hemisphere/lobe location of lesion) and clinical/biological variables (tumour type: High/Low Grade Glioma or Meningioma; lesion volume; lesion aggressiveness). One-hundred patients undergoing neuropsychological assessment before and immediately after surgery participated. A "Language Score" summarizing performance on all language tests was derived with Principal Component Analysis. Data were then analyzed with Multiple Regression and Classification and Regression Tree analyses to investigate possible relationships between predictors (CR proxies and clinical variables) and Language Score. We found that premorbid IQ was the best predictor of pre-operatory language integrity, above and beyond all clinical variables considered, also moderating lesion volume effects. Moreover, patients with lower pre-operatory language integrity and low-to-moderately aggressive tumours showed a mitigating effect of current IQ over surgery consequences. Results thus suggest that different CR proxies play a role in moderating cognitive decline following brain tumours and surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107769
Publication statusPublished - Apr 16 2021


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