, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 442-451
Date: 10 Sep 2013

Protective effects of higher cognitive reserve for neuropsychological and daily functioning among individuals infected with hepatitis C

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Higher levels of cognitive reserve (CR) can be protective against the neuropsychological manifestation of neural injury across a variety of clinical disorders. However, the role of CR in the expression of neurocognitive deficits among persons infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is not well understood. Thirty-nine HCV-infected participants were classified as having either high (n = 19) or low (n = 20) CR based on educational attainment, oral word reading, and IQ scores. A sample of 40 demographically comparable healthy adults (HA) was also included. All participants completed the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery, Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System, and Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Adult Version (BRIEF-A). Linear regression analyses, controlling for gender, depression, and lifetime substance use disorders, found significant effects of HCV/CR group on verbal fluency, executive functions, and daily functioning T scores, but not in learning or the BRIEF-A. Pairwise comparisons revealed that the HCV group with low CR performed significantly below the HCV high CR and HA cohorts, who did not differ from one another. Findings indicate that higher levels of CR may be a protective factor in the neurocognitive and real-world manifestation of neural injury commonly associated with HCV infection.