The purpose of this research was to examine the extent of global brain atrophy and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) in early Parkinson's disease (PD) compared to normal controls (NC), to explore the relationship between the MRI variables and cognition in PD. In this multicenter study we included 155 PD patients (age 65.6 +/- 9.1 years, disease duration 26.7 +/- 19.9 months) and 101 age-matched NC. On 3D-T1-WI, we calculated normalized brain volumes using SIENAX software. WMH volumes were assessed semiautomatically. In PD patients, correlation and regression analyses investigated the association between atrophy and WMH outcomes and global, attention-executive, visuospatial, and memory cognitive functions. Regression analysis was controlled for age, education, depression score, motor severity, cerebrovascular risk, and sex. No significant MRI variable volume group differences were found. The models did not retain any of the imaging variables as significant predictors of cognitive impairment. There was no evidence of brain atrophy or higher WMH volume in PD compared to NC, and MRI volumetric measurements were not significant predictors of cognitive functions in PD patients. We conclude that global structural brain changes are not a major feature in patients with incident PD.