According to a new study, education could be associated with improved recovery after traumatic brain injury. Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that people who had some college-level education were more likely to go back to work or school disability-free after a traumatic brain injury—more so than people with no high school diploma.

The study essentially shows that brains of people with greater cognitive reserve may have a superior ability to continue functioning in the face of damage because of their resilience. The protective element may have something to do with “cognitive reserve,” which researchers described in the Neurology paper as the idea that “individuals have inherent differences in their vulnerability to the effects of aging or brain legions, and perhaps also in their capacity to adapt or compensate for such processes.”

The study included 769 individuals aged 23 or older who had experienced a traumatic brain injury, and who were followed for a year or more after their injury. Of these people, 24 percent did not finish high school; 51 percent had 12 to 15 years of education, had finished high school or had some post-secondary education; and 25 percent had at least an undergraduate college degree or 16 or more years of education.

Of the individuals, just 10 percent of those who didn’t have a high school diploma were able to go back to work or school disability free, while 31 percent of people with a college education did.