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Mov Disord. 2015 Jul;30(8):1143-7. doi: 10.1002/mds.26272. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Educational attainment and motor burden in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USAI.
2
Neurology Service and GRECC, VAAAHS, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
3
Department of Radiology, Division of Nuclear Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
4
University of Michigan Morris K. Udall Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
5
Department of Internal Medicine and VA Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Greater educational attainment is a protective factor for neurodegenerative dementias. If education earlier in life leads to greater cerebral reserve, it may play a similar protective role in Parkinson's disease (PD).

METHODS:

We conducted a cross-sectional clinical imaging study of 142 subjects with PD. All subjects underwent [(11)C]dihydrotetrabenazine PET to confirm nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation and brain MRI to estimate adjusted cortical gray matter volume (GMV).

RESULTS:

After adjusting for possible confounders, including cognitive and dopaminergic covariates, as well as nonspecific neurodegeneration covariates (age, disease duration, and total adjusted cortical GMV), lower years of education remained a significant predictor of higher total MDS-UPDRS motor score (t = -3.28; P = 0.001). Education level associated inversely with white matter (WM) hyperintensities in a post-hoc analysis (n = 83).

CONCLUSIONS:

Higher educational attainment is associated with lower severity of motor impairment in PD. This association may reflect an extranigral protective effect upon WM integrity.

KEYWORDS:

Parkinson's disease; dopamine; education; gray matter; neuroprotection

PMID:
26096339
PMCID:
PMC4504749
DOI:
10.1002/mds.26272
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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