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Jung, Na-Yeon; Cho, Hanna; Kim, Yeo Jin; Kim, Hee Jin; Lee, Jong Min; Park, Seongbeom; Kim, Sung Tae; Kim, Eun-Joo; Kim, Jae Seung; Moon, Seung Hwan; Lee, Jae-Hong; Ewers, Michael; Na, Duk L.; Seo, Sang Won (2018): The impact of education on cortical thickness in amyloid-negative subcortical vascular dementia: cognitive reserve hypothesis. In: Alzheimers Research & Therapy 10:103


Background: The protective effect of education has been well established in Alzheimer's disease, whereas its role in patients with isolated cerebrovascular diseases remains unclear. We examined the correlation of education with cortical thickness and cerebral small vessel disease markers in patients with pure subcortical vascular mild cognitive impairment (svMCl) and patients with pure subcortical vascular dementia (SVaD). Methods: We analyzed 45 patients with svMCl and 47 patients with SVaD with negative results on Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomographic imaging who underwent structural brain magnetic resonance imaging. The main outcome was cortical thickness measured using surface-based morphometric analysis. We also assessed the volumes of white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and numbers of lacunes as other outcomes. To investigate the correlation of education with cortical thickness, WMH volume, and number of lacunes, multiple linear regression analyses were performed after controlling for covariates, including Mini Mental State Examination, in the svMCl and SVaD groups. Results: In the SVaD group, higher education was correlated with more severe cortical thinning in the bilateral dorsolateral frontal, left medial frontal, and parahippocampal areas, whereas there was no correlation of education with cortical thickness in the svMCl group. There was no correlation between education and cerebral small vessel disease, including WMH and lacunes, in both patients with svMCl and patients with SVaD. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the compensatory effects of education on cortical thinning apply to patients with SVaD, which might be explained by the cognitive reserve hypothesis.