A team of researchers has studied brain aging by measuring the volume of the cortical mantle and hippocampal regions of the brain provided with MRI scans of more than 2,000 participants.
These areas of the brain are prone to shrink over time as a natural part of aging. The participants’ brains were scanned up to three times over an 11-year period , making it one of the largest longitudinal tests of its kind.
The researchers compared the rate of reduction of these areas in people who had obtained a higher education before the age of 30 and those who did not. The participants were between 29 and 91 years old .
What they concluded is that higher education is modestly related to bigger brains.
While the rate of brain change was similar in participants with and without higher education, the researchers found that those with higher education had slightly higher cortical volume in some regions, but even in these regions, the rate of change was not related to education .
In conclusion, the human brain shrinks . Even in healthy individuals, those who do not suffer from any neurodegenerative disease, or those who have higher education, this gradual reduction in size is recorded from the age of 25 and the process accelerates from the age of 50. This atrophy is mainly localized in the frontal lobe and the hippocampus, the area where memories are fixed, so that it has direct consequences on faculties such as our ability to reason, mental speed or episodic memory.