Objective: Recent studies neuroimaging showed that continues environmental stimuli can induce structural changes in the brain. Compared to later life, during formal education in school and university; human brain is not only continuously stimulated with new information but also retrieves the already learned information and extends it with the new one. In this study, we explored the effects of this extensive learning process on brain structure by using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) ?DARTEL method.
Method: Forty-seven healthy adults were included in this study. After screened carefully by SCID-NP, all subjects were scanned by Siemens 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine. T1 weighted images were analyzed by SPM 5 (Statistical Parametric Mapping software) via VBM protocol.
Results: Our VBM results showed that the right anterior hippocampus gray matter volume was correlated with the duration of formal education. We also observed that education showed positive correlations with Brodmann (BA) 18 in the occipital lobes and with the right cerebellum. However, the right parietal cortex (BA 7) and the right middle frontal cortex (BA 8) showed negative correlations with education.
Conclusion: Our study showed that there is an association between the duration of formal education and the gray matter volume of brain regions related to the detection of novel stimuli, semantic and spatial memory and visual system which might be related to extensive learning process during formal education years.
Education, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Voxel-based Morphometry, DARTEL, Hippocampus