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Atrophy of hippocampal subfield CA2/3 in healthy elderly men is related to educational attainment

Atrophy of hippocampal subfield CA2/3 in healthy elderly men is related to educational attainment

Neurobiology of Aging 80: 21-28

A higher education level is a protective factor against cognitive decline in elders; however, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. Modulated by both aging and education, the hippocampus is a starting point for understanding the long-lasting effect of education on the aging of human brain. Because the hippocampus possesses functionally heterogeneous subfields and exhibits sex differences, we examined hippocampal subfields in men and women separately. We performed both cross-sectional (n = 143) and longitudinal (n = 51) analyses on healthy participants aged 65-75 years, who underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging. Volumes of the hippocampi and their subfields were estimated by automated segmentation. We found significantly positive correlations between educational attainment and the volume of hippocampal CA2/3 in men but not in women. The longitudinal analysis focusing on this region validated the above results by showing that a higher education level attenuated the progression of atrophy during a 15-month follow-up period in the CA2/3 region in men. These findings suggest that, in men, education plays a role in the aging of specific hippocampal subfields.

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Accession: 066774256

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PMID: 31077957

DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.03.019

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