Positional and surface area asymmetry of the human cortex
Previous studies of cortical asymmetry have relied mainly on voxel-based morphometry (VBM), or manual segmentation of regions of interest. This study uses fully automated, surface-based techniques to analyse position and surface area asymmetry for the mid-surfaces of 112 right-handed subjects' cortical hemispheres from a cohort of young adults. Native space measurements of local surface area asymmetry and vertex position asymmetry were calculated from surfaces registered to a previously validated hemisphere-unbiased surface-based template. Our analysis confirms previously identified hemispheric asymmetries (Yakovlevian torque, frontal and occipital petalia) in enhanced detail. It does not support previous findings of gender/asymmetry interactions or rightward planum parietale areal increase. It reveals several new findings, including a striking leftward increase in surface area of the supramarginal gyrus (peak effect 18%), compared with a smaller areal increase in the left Heschl's gyrus and planum temporale region (peak effect 8%). A second finding was rightward increase in surface area (peak effect 10%) in a band around the medial junction between the occipital lobe, and parietal and temporal lobes. By clearly separating out the effects of structural translocation and surface area change from those of thickness and curvature, this study resolves the confound of these variables inherent in VBM studies.
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