Handedness and Cerebral Anatomical Asymmetries in Young Adult Males

Neuroimage. 2006 Feb 15;29(4):1066-79. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.08.031. Epub 2005 Sep 28.

Abstract

Using voxel-based morphometry, we measured the cerebral anatomical asymmetries in a sample of 56 young right-handed males and then compared voxelwise asymmetry indices of these subjects to those of 56 young left-handed males. In the right-handed, the clusters of grey matter asymmetry corresponding to the leftward occipital petalia and planum temporale asymmetries were retrieved. Strong rightward temporo-parietal asymmetries were also observed, but the rightward grey matter asymmetry in the frontal lobe was less massive than previously described. Group comparisons of left- and right-handed subjects' asymmetry maps, performed at a statistical threshold not corrected for multiple comparisons, revealed significant effects of handedness on this pattern of anatomical asymmetry in frontal regions, notably in the lower central and precentral sulci, and also in the planum temporale, with right-handed subjects being more leftward asymmetric. Concerning white matter, although almost no focal differences between left- and right-handed subjects were detected, volumetric analyses at the hemispheric level revealed a leftward asymmetry, which happened to be significantly less marked in the left-handed. This latter result, together with the pattern of leftward white matter asymmetries, suggested that anatomical correlates of the left hemispheric specialization for language would exist in white matter. In the population we studied, differences in anatomical asymmetry between left- and right-handed subjects provided structural arguments for a greater functional ambilaterality in left-handed subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Reference Values
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology