Corpus callosal microstructural integrity influences interhemispheric processing: a diffusion tensor imaging study.
ABSTRACT Normal aging and chronic alcoholism result in disruption of brain white matter microstructure that does not typically cause complete lesions but may underlie degradation of functions requiring interhemispheric information transfer. We examined whether the microstructural integrity of the corpus callosum assessed with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) would relate to interhemispheric processing speed. DTI yields estimates of fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of orientation and intravoxel coherence of water diffusion usually in white matter fibers, and diffusivity ( ), a measure of the amount of intracellular and extracellular fluid diffusion. We tested the hypothesis that FA and would be correlated with (i) the crossed-uncrossed difference (CUD), testing visuomotor interhemispheric transfer; and (ii) the redundant targets effect (RTE), testing parallel processing of visual information presented to each cerebral hemisphere. FA was lower and higher in alcoholics than in controls. In controls but not alcoholics, large CUDs correlated with low FA and high in total corpus callosum and regionally in the genu and splenium. In alcoholics but not controls, small RTEs, elicited with equiluminant stimuli, correlated with low FA in genu and splenium and high in the callosal body. The results provide in vivo evidence for disruption of corpus callosum microstructure in normal aging and alcoholism that has functional ramifications for efficiency in interhemispheric processing.
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ABSTRACT: The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest white matter tract in the brain. It enables interhemispheric communication, particularly with respect to bimanual coordination. Here, we use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in healthy humans to determine the extent to which structural organization of subregions within the CC would predict how well subjects learn a novel bimanual task. A single DTI scan was taken prior to training. Participants then practiced a bimanual visuomotor task over the course of 2 wk, consisting of multiple coordination patterns. Findings revealed that the predictive power of fractional anisotropy (FA) was a function of CC subregion and practice. That is, FA of the anterior CC, which projects to the prefrontal cortex, predicted bimanual learning rather than the middle CC regions, which connect primary motor cortex. This correlation was specific in that FA correlated significantly with performance of the most difficult frequency ratios tested and not the innately preferred, isochronous frequency ratio. Moreover, the effect was only evident after training and not at initiation of practice. This is the first DTI study in healthy adults which demonstrates that white matter organization of the interhemispheric connections between the prefrontal structures is strongly correlated with motor learning capability.Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) 07/2012; 19(8):351-7. DOI:10.1101/lm.026534.112 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Brain abnormalities in Williams syndrome (WS) have been consistently reported, despite few studies have devoted attention to connectivity between different brain regions in WS. In this study, we evaluated corpus callosum (CC) morphometry: bending angle, length, thickness and curvature of CC using a new shape analysis method in a group of 17 individuals with WS matched with a typically developing group. We used this multimethod approach because we hypothesized that neurodevelopmental abnormalities might result in both volume changes and structure deformation. Overall, we found reduced absolute CC cross-sectional area and volume in WS (mean CC and subsections). In parallel, we observed group differences regarding CC shape and thickness. Specifically, CC of WS is morphologically different, characterized by a larger bending angle and being more curved in the posterior part. Moreover, although CC in WS is shorter, a larger relative thickness of CC was found in all callosal sections. Finally, groups differed regarding the association between CC measures, age, white matter volume and cognitive performance. In conclusions, abnormal patterns of CC morphology and shape may be implicated in WS cognitive and behavioural phenotype.Brain Structure and Function 05/2012; 218(3). DOI:10.1007/s00429-012-0423-4 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Korsakoff's syndrome (KS) is characterized by dense anterograde amnesia resulting from damage to the diencephalon region, typically resulting from chronic alcohol abuse and thiamine deficiency. This review assesses the integrity of the implicit memory system in KS, focusing on studies of procedural learning and priming. KS patients are impaired on several measures of procedural memory, most likely due to impairment in cognitive functions associated with alcohol-related neural damage outside of the diencephalon. The pattern of performance on tasks of implicit priming suggests reliance on a residual, non-flexible memory operating more or less in an automatic fashion. Our review concludes that whether measures of implicit memory reveal intact or impaired performance in individuals with KS depends heavily on specific task parameters and demands, including timing between stimuli, the specific nature of the stimuli used in a task, and the integrity of supportive cognitive functions necessary for performance.Neuropsychology Review 05/2012; 22(2):132-53. DOI:10.1007/s11065-012-9204-3 · 5.40 Impact Factor