Young Adult Brain Capital: A New Opportunity for Dementia Prevention
J Alzheimers Dis. 2023;94(2):415-423. doi: 10.3233/JAD-230260.
The potential for future prevention of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) through healthy lifestyle change is spurring a positive brain health movement. However, most ADRD research continues to focus on mid- and later life. We lack evidence regarding risk exposure and protective factors in young adulthood, i.e., 18-39 years. Brain capital is an emerging framework that represents the combination of education, knowledge, skills, and optimal brain health that people accumulate over their lives. Building on this framework, we present a new model that focuses on optimizing brain health in young adulthood; namely, young adult brain capital. Increasing focus on younger populations is critical for developing citizens who are emotionally intelligent, resilient and can anticipate and cope with rapid changes in the world. By understanding the values that are key drivers and motivators for young adults, we can empower the next generation to become active agents in optimizing their brain health and reducing their risk for future ADRD.