Educational attainment does not influence brain aging

Lars Nyberg, Fredrik Magnussen, Anders Lundquist,  William Baaré, David Bartrés-Faz, Lars Bertram, C. J. Boraxbekk, Andreas M. Brandmaier,  Christian A. Drevon, Klaus Ebmeier, Paolo Ghisletta, Richard N. Henson, Carme Junqué, Rogier Kievit, Maike Kleemeyer, Ethan Knights, Simone Kühn, Ulman Lindenberger, Brenda W. J. H. Penninx, Sara Pudas, Øystein Sørensen, Lídia Vaqué-Alcázar, Kristine B. Walhovd, Anders M. Fjell

PNAS May 4, 2021 118 (18) e2101644118;


Education has been related to various advantageous lifetime outcomes. Here, using longitudinal structural MRI data (4,422 observations), we tested the influential hypothesis that higher education translates into slower rates of brain aging. Cross-sectionally, education was modestly associated with regional cortical volume. However, despite marked mean atrophy in the cortex and hippocampus, education did not influence rates of change. The results were replicated across two independent samples. Our findings challenge the view that higher education slows brain aging.

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Tags: ageing, cerebral cortex, education
Published Apr. 27, 2021 10:32 PM - Last modified May 10, 2021 2:15 PM