Background: Cognitive reserve is the acquired capacity reflecting a functional brain adaptability/flexibility in the context of aging. Educational attainment is thought to be among the most important factors that contribute to cognitive reserve. Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the relationships among duration of education and Alzheimer's disease (AD) related neuroimaging biomarkers such as amyloid-β deposition, glucose metabolism, and brain volumes in each stage of AD. Methods: We reanalyzed a part of the datasets of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Participants were between 55 and 90 years of age and diagnosed as one of the following: healthy controls (HC), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or AD. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships among duration of education and amyloid-β deposition (n=825), brain metabolism (n=1,304), and brain volumes (n=1,606) among three groups using data for 18 F-Florbetapir (AV-45) imaging, fludeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography, and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Duration of education had no correlations with amyloid-β deposition or brain metabolism in any groups. However, duration of education was positively associated with the total brain volume only in participants with MCI. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that education may exert a protective effect on total brain volume in the MCI stage but not in HC or AD. Thus, education may play an important role in preventing the onset of dementia through brain reserve in MCI.
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