Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 222, Issue 3, pp 1469–1479

Education is associated with sub-regions of the hippocampus and the amygdala vulnerable to neuropathologies of Alzheimer’s disease

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00429-016-1287-9

Cite this article as:
Tang, X., Varma, V.R., Miller, M.I. et al. Brain Struct Funct (2017) 222: 1469. doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1287-9


We evaluated the correlation of educational attainment with structural volume and shape morphometry of the bilateral hippocampi and amygdalae in a sample of 110 non-demented, older adults at elevated sociodemographic risk for cognitive and functional declines. In both men and women, no significant education–volume correlation was detected for either structure. However, when performing shape analysis, we observed regionally specific associations with education after adjusting for age, intracranial volume, and race. By sub-dividing the hippocampus and the amygdala into compatible subregions, we found that education was positively associated with size variations in the CA1 and subiculum subregions of the hippocampus and the basolateral subregion of the amygdala (p < 0.05). In addition, we detected a greater left versus right asymmetric pattern in the shape-education correlation for the hippocampus but not the amygdala. This asymmetric association was largely observed in men versus women. These findings suggest that education in youth may exert direct and indirect influences on brain reserve in regions that are most vulnerable to the neuropathologies of aging, dementia, and specifically, Alzheimer disease.


Brain reserve Cognitive reserve Education Hippocampus Amygdala Shape 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
  • P41 EB015909
National Institute on Aging
  • P01 AG027735-03
National Natural Science Foundation of China
  • 81501546
SYSU-CMU Shunde International Joint Research Institute
  • 20150306
The Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Aging Training Grant
  • 5T32AG000247

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sun Yat-sen University-Carnegie Mellon University (SYSU-CMU) Joint Institute of EngineeringSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Sun Yat-sen University-Carnegie Mellon University (SYSU-CMU) Shunde International Joint Research InstituteShundeChina
  3. 3.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Center on Aging and HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Center for Imaging ScienceJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.Institute for Computational MedicineJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  7. 7.Department of Biomedical EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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