Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Correlation Between Brain Shrinkage And Education Found

Date:
July 14, 1999
Source:
Henry Ford Health System
Summary:
Among the healthy elderly, people with higher education levels exhibit more severe brain shrinkage with age than people with fewer years of education. Yet, these seniors do not show severe problems with their memory or thinking, according to a researcher at Henry Ford Health System.

Among the healthy elderly, people with higher education levels exhibit more severe brain shrinkage with age than people with fewer years of education. Yet, these seniors do not show severe problems with their memory or thinking, according to a researcher at Henry Ford Health System.

Related Articles


The study published in the July issue of the journal Neurology, supports the "reserve hypothesis" -- that while more educated people have greater age-associated brain shrinkage, they are afforded greater protection from age-related mental impairment and possibly dementia.

This study is the first of its kind to look at the biology of the reserve hypothesis in healthy older adults.

"Our research shows that education exerts a protective effect," said C. Edward Coffey, M.D., chair of Henry Ford's Department of Psychiatry and the study's principal investigator. "Education doesn't reduce brain changes associated with disease or aging, but rather enables more educated individuals to resist the influence of deteriorating brain structure by maintaining better cognitive and behavioral function."

The research pool consisted of 320 healthy men and women ages 66 to 90 living independently in the community. All were pre-screened for impairment using a mental state examination. Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to measure brain size. The MRI images revealed the following:

Brain shrinkage, as demonstrated by an increase in cerebrospinal fluid around the outside of the brain, was significantly greater in people with higher education.

Researchers counted years of education starting with first grade. For each year of education, they found about 1/3 tsp. (1.77 ml) more cerebrospinal fluid around the brain. For example, among elderly persons of similar age, sex and intracranial size, those with 16 years of education had approximately 8 to 10 percent more cerebrospinal fluid volume than those with only four years of education.

Despite their greater brain shrinkage, those with higher education showed no clinical evidence of severe memory loss or other problems with thinking. Education was equally effective for men and women in buffering their brains against memory loss.

"While we know education helps to preserve memory and thinking in the face of brain aging, additional research is needed to determine the mechanism by which education may be related to preserved cognitive function," Dr. Coffey said.

The study was funded in part by the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, the Mental Illness Research Association and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Henry Ford Health System. "Correlation Between Brain Shrinkage And Education Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990714072939.htm>.
Henry Ford Health System. (1999, July 14). Correlation Between Brain Shrinkage And Education Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990714072939.htm
Henry Ford Health System. "Correlation Between Brain Shrinkage And Education Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990714072939.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) — Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins