Background: Many variables affect outcome after brain injury. Cognitive reserve (CR) is a subjective factor that reflects a set of personal characteristics and that differentiates individuals. It may influence an individual’s capacity to react to brain injury. Objective: To study the effects of cognitive reserve on functional and cognitive outcome at the end of rehabilitation, in patients with severe acquired brain injury (sABI), by means of the Cognitive Reserve Index questionnaire (CRIq). Methods: We report a retrospective study of a continuous series of sABI patients on first admission to a rehabilitation center. Disability and cognitive outcomes were recorded. Results: In the 94 patients enrolled, the assessments after rehabilitation showed a significant gain measured with the disability Rating Scale for patients with a higher CR (CRIq≥ 85). A significant negative correlation was found: between CRIq scores and the interval elapsing before first access to neuropsychological assessment, between CRIq scores, especially level of education, and tests that measure the same domain (attention). Conclusions: Improvements in overall and cognitive disability emerged, but CR did not seem to substantially influence outcome in this sample of patients. This result may be partly due to the clinical severity of the population studied and the sample’s dimension, although quantitatively representative of the population.
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