Objectives: We aimed to investigate the relationship between education and cortical thickness in cognitively normal individuals to determine whether education attenuated the association of advanced aging and cortical thinning. Methods: A total of 1,959 participants, in whom education levels were available, were included in the final analysis. Cortical thickness was measured on high-resolution MRIs using a surface-based method. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed for education level and cortical thickness, after controlling for possible confounders. Results: High levels of education were correlated with increased mean cortical thickness throughout the entire cortex (p 0.003). This association persisted after controlling for vascular risk factors. Statistical maps of cortical thickness showed that the high levels of education were correlated with increased cortical thickness in the bilateral premotor areas, anterior cingulate cortices, perisylvian areas, right superior parietal lobule, left lingual gyrus, and occipital pole. There were also interactive effects of age and education on the mean cortical thickness (p 0.019). Conclusions: Our findings suggest the protective effect of education on cortical thinning in cognitively normal older individuals, regardless of vascular risk factors. This effect was found only in the older participants, suggesting that the protective effects of education on cortical thickness might be achieved by increased resistance to structural loss from aging rather than by simply providing a fixed advantage in the brain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology