Background In Alzheimer's disease, higher educational attainment is associated with fewer cognitive deficits despite similar pathological lesions. In animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD), enhanced levels of cognitive and physical stimulation can reduce motor deficits due to dopaminergic neuronal loss. Therefore, in this study, we tested whether higher educational attainment has a beneficial influence on PD motor symptoms. Methods We included data from 182 patients with de novo PD without dementia, who underwent dopamine transporter (DAT) scans for an initial diagnostic work-up. Patients were divided into 2 groups according to their educational attainment; high education (HE-PD; ≥ 12 years of education) and low education (LE-PD; < 12 years of education). Results The HE-PD group exhibited significantly higher mini-mental state exam scores, fewer motor deficits, and lower DAT binding to the posterior putamen than the LE-PD group, despite a similar duration of PD symptoms. A general linear model revealed that this difference in motor deficits remained statistically significant after controlling for potential confounding factors (p = 0.032). Conclusion These results suggest that higher educational attainment can lead to reduced motor deficits in PD despite greater reductions in dopamine levels.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology