Handedness- and hemisphere-related differences in small-world brain networks: a diffusion tensor imaging tractography study.
ABSTRACT: Previous behavioral and scanning studies have suggested that handedness is associated with differences in brain morphology as well as in anatomical and functional lateralization. However, little is known about the topological organization of the white matter (WM) structural networks related to handedness. We employed diffusion tensor imaging tractography to investigate handedness- and hemisphere-related differences in the topological organization of the human cortical anatomical network. After constructing left hemispheric/right hemispheric weighted structural networks in 32 right-handed and 24 left-handed healthy individuals, we analyzed the networks by graph theoretic analysis. We found that both the right and left hemispheric WM structural networks in the two groups possessed small-world attributes (high local clustering and short paths between nodes), findings which are consistent with recent results from whole-brain structural networks. In addition, the right hemisphere tended to be more efficient than the left hemisphere, suggesting a high efficiency of general information processing in the right hemisphere. Finally, we found that the right-handed subjects had significant asymmetries in small-world properties (normalized clustering coefficient ?, normalized path length ?, and small-worldness ?), while left-handed subjects had fewer asymmetries. Our findings from large-scale brain networks aid in understanding the structural substrates underlying handedness-related and hemisphere-related differences in cognition and behavior.
Project description:Most humans are right handed, and most humans exhibit left-right asymmetries of the precentral corticospinal system. Recent studies indicate that chimpanzees also show a population-level right-handed bias, although it is less strong than in humans.We used in vivo diffusion-weighted and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the relationship between the corticospinal tract (CST) and handedness in 36 adult female chimpanzees. Chimpanzees exhibited a hemispheric bias in fractional anisotropy (FA, left>right) and mean diffusivity (MD, right>left) of the CST, and the left CST was centered more posteriorly than the right. Handedness correlated with central sulcus depth, but not with FA or MD.These anatomical results are qualitatively similar to those reported in humans, despite the differences in handedness. The existence of a left>right FA, right>left MD bias in the corticospinal tract that does not correlate with handedness, a result also reported in some human studies, suggests that at least some of the structural asymmetries of the corticospinal system are not exclusively related to laterality of hand preference.
Project description:Human language is dominantly processed in the left cerebral hemisphere in most of the population. While several studies have suggested that there are higher rates of atypical right-hemispheric language lateralization in left-/mixed-handers, an accurate estimate of this association from a large sample is still missing. In this study, we comprised data from 1,554 individuals sampled in three previous studies in which language lateralization measured via dichotic listening, handedness and footedness were assessed. Overall, we found a right ear advantage indicating typical left-hemispheric language lateralization in 82.1% of the participants. While we found significantly more left-handed individuals with atypical language lateralization on the categorical level, we only detected a very weak positive correlation between dichotic listening lateralization quotients (LQs) and handedness LQs using continuous measures. Here, only 0.4% of the variance in language lateralization were explained by handedness. We complemented these analyses with Bayesian statistics and found no evidence in favor of the hypothesis that language lateralization and handedness are related. Footedness LQs were not correlated with dichotic listening LQs, but individuals with atypical language lateralization also exhibited higher rates of atypical footedness on the categorical level. We also found differences in the extent of language lateralization between males and females with males exhibiting higher dichotic listening LQs indicating more left-hemispheric language processing. Overall, these findings indicate that the direct associations between language lateralization and motor asymmetries are much weaker than previously assumed with Bayesian correlation analyses even suggesting that they do not exist at all. Furthermore, sex differences seem to be present in language lateralization when the power of the study is adequate suggesting that endocrinological processes might influence this phenotype.
Project description:The left and right sides of the human brain are specialized for different kinds of information processing, and much of our cognition is lateralized to an extent toward one side or the other. Handedness is a reflection of nervous system lateralization. Roughly ten percent of people are mixed- or left-handed, and they show an elevated rate of reductions or reversals of some cerebral functional asymmetries compared to right-handers. Brain anatomical correlates of left-handedness have also been suggested. However, the relationships of left-handedness to brain structure and function remain far from clear. We carried out a comprehensive analysis of cortical surface area differences between 106 left-handed subjects and 1960 right-handed subjects, measured using an automated method of regional parcellation (FreeSurfer, Destrieux atlas). This is the largest study sample that has so far been used in relation to this issue. No individual cortical region showed an association with left-handedness that survived statistical correction for multiple testing, although there was a nominally significant association with the surface area of a previously implicated region: the left precentral sulcus. Identifying brain structural correlates of handedness may prove useful for genetic studies of cerebral asymmetries, as well as providing new avenues for the study of relations between handedness, cerebral lateralization and cognition.
Project description:Determining the anatomical basis of hemispheric language dominance (HLD) remains an important scientific endeavor. The Wada test remains the gold standard test for HLD and provides a unique opportunity to determine the relationship between HLD and hemispheric structural asymmetries on MRI. In this study, we applied a whole-brain voxel-based asymmetry (VBA) approach to determine the relationship between interhemispheric structural asymmetries and HLD in a large consecutive sample of Wada tested patients. Of 135 patients, 114 (84.4%) had left HLD, 10 (7.4%) right HLD, and 11 (8.2%) bilateral language representation. Fifty-four controls were also studied. Right-handed controls and right-handed patients with left HLD had comparable structural brain asymmetries in cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar regions that have previously been documented in healthy people. However, these patients and controls differed in structural asymmetry of the mesial temporal lobe and a circumscribed region in the superior temporal gyrus, suggesting that only asymmetries of these regions were due to brain alterations caused by epilepsy. Additional comparisons between patients with left and right HLD, matched for type and location of epilepsy, revealed that structural asymmetries of insula, pars triangularis, inferior temporal gyrus, orbitofrontal cortex, ventral temporo-occipital cortex, mesial somatosensory cortex, and mesial cerebellum were significantly associated with the side of HLD. Patients with right HLD and bilateral language representation were significantly less right-handed. These results suggest that structural asymmetries of an insular-fronto-temporal network may be related to HLD.
Project description:Handedness and language lateralization are the most investigated phenotypes among functional hemispheric asymmetries, i.e. differences in function between the left and the right half of the human brain. Both phenotypes are left hemisphere-dominant, while investigations of the molecular factors underlying right hemisphere-dominant phenotypes are less prominent. In the classical line bisection task, healthy subjects typically show a leftward attentional bias due to a relative dominance of the right hemisphere for visuospatial attention. Based on findings of variations in dopamine-related genes affecting performance in the line bisection task, we first tested whether DNA methylation in non-neuronal tissue in the promoter regions of DBH, SLC6A3, and DRD2 are associated with line bisection deviation. We replicated the typical behavioral pattern and found an effect of DNA methylation in the DBH promoter region on line bisection deviation in right-aligned trials. A second exploratory analysis indicated that an overall DNA methylation profile of genes involved in dopamine function predicts line bisection performance in right-aligned trials. Genetic variation in dopamine-related genes has been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental trait associated with rightward attentional bias. Overall, our findings point towards epigenetic markers for functional hemispheric asymmetries in non-neuronal tissue not only for left hemisphere-dominant, but also for right hemisphere-dominant phenotypes.
Project description:Vertebrate brains display physiological and anatomical left-right differences, which are related to hemispheric dominances for specific functions. Functional lateralizations likely rely on structural left-right differences in intra- and interhemispheric connectivity patterns that develop in tight gene-environment interactions. The visual systems of chickens and pigeons show that asymmetrical light stimulation during ontogeny induces a dominance of the left hemisphere for visuomotor control that is paralleled by projection asymmetries within the ascending visual pathways. But structural asymmetries vary essentially between both species concerning the affected pathway (thalamo- vs. tectofugal system), constancy of effects (transient vs. permanent), and the hemisphere receiving stronger bilateral input (right vs. left). These discrepancies suggest that at least two aspects of visual processes are influenced by asymmetric light stimulation: (1) visuomotor dominance develops within the ontogenetically stronger stimulated hemisphere but not necessarily in the one receiving stronger bottom-up input. As a secondary consequence of asymmetrical light experience, lateralized top-down mechanisms play a critical role in the emergence of hemispheric dominance. (2) Ontogenetic light experiences may affect the dominant use of left- and right-hemispheric strategies. Evidences from social and spatial cognition tasks indicate that chickens rely more on a right-hemispheric global strategy whereas pigeons display a dominance of the left hemisphere. Thus, behavioral asymmetries are linked to a stronger bilateral input to the right hemisphere in chickens but to the left one in pigeons. The degree of bilateral visual input may determine the dominant visual processing strategy when redundant encoding is possible. This analysis supports that environmental stimulation affects the balance between hemispheric-specific processing by lateralized interactions of bottom-up and top-down systems.
Project description:In a previous study on hand selection in a sequential reaching task, the authors showed a shift of the point-of-change (POC) to the left of the midline. This implies that participants conducted a number of contralateral reaches with their dominant, right hand. Contralateral movements have longer planning and execution times and a lower precision. In the current study, we asked whether lower mechanical costs of motor execution or lower cognitive costs of motor planning compensated for these disadvantages. Theories on hemispheric differences postulate lower mechanical costs in the dominant hemisphere and lower cognitive costs in the left hemisphere (independent of handedness). In right-handed participants, both factors act agonistically to reduce the total cost of right-handed reaches. To distinguish between the cost factors, we had left- and right-hand-dominant participants execute a sequential, unimanual reaching task. Results showed a left-shift of the POC in the right-handed and a right-shift in the left-handed group. Both shifts were similar in magnitude. These findings indicate that only the mechanical cost of motor execution compensates for the disadvantages of the contralateral reaches, while the cognitive cost of motor planning is irrelevant for the POC shift.
Project description:BACKGROUND: According to decades of research on affective motivation in the human brain, approach motivational states are supported primarily by the left hemisphere and avoidance states by the right hemisphere. The underlying cause of this specialization, however, has remained unknown. Here we conducted a first test of the Sword and Shield Hypothesis (SSH), according to which the hemispheric laterality of affective motivation depends on the laterality of motor control for the dominant hand (i.e., the "sword hand," used preferentially to perform approach actions) and the nondominant hand (i.e., the "shield hand," used preferentially to perform avoidance actions). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To determine whether the laterality of approach motivation varies with handedness, we measured alpha-band power (an inverse index of neural activity) in right- and left-handers during resting-state electroencephalography and analyzed hemispheric alpha-power asymmetries as a function of the participants' trait approach motivational tendencies. Stronger approach motivation was associated with more left-hemisphere activity in right-handers, but with more right-hemisphere activity in left-handers. CONCLUSIONS: The hemispheric correlates of approach motivation reversed between right- and left-handers, consistent with the way they typically use their dominant and nondominant hands to perform approach and avoidance actions. In both right- and left-handers, approach motivation was lateralized to the same hemisphere that controls the dominant hand. This covariation between neural systems for action and emotion provides initial support for the SSH.
Project description:Both hemispheres contribute to motor control beyond the innervation of the contralateral alpha motoneurons. The left hemisphere has been associated with higher-order aspects of motor control like sequencing and temporal processing, the right hemisphere with the transformation of visual information to guide movements in space. In the visuomotor context, empirical evidence regarding the latter has been limited though the right hemisphere's specialization for visuospatial processing is well-documented in perceptual tasks. This study operationalized temporal and spatial processing demands during visuomotor processing and investigated hemispheric asymmetries in neural activation during the unimanual control of a visual cursor by grip force. Functional asymmetries were investigated separately for visuomotor planning and online control during functional magnetic resonance imaging in 19 young, healthy, right-handed participants. The expected cursor movement was coded with different visual trajectories. During planning when spatial processing demands predominated, activity was right-lateralized in a hand-independent manner in the inferior temporal lobe, occipito-parietal border, and ventral premotor cortex. When temporal processing demands overweighed spatial demands, BOLD responses during planning were left-lateralized in the temporo-parietal junction. During online control of the cursor, right lateralization was not observed. Instead, left lateralization occurred in the intraparietal sulcus. Our results identify movement phase and spatiotemporal demands as important determinants of dynamic hemispheric asymmetries during visuomotor processing. We suggest that, within a bilateral visuomotor network, the right hemisphere exhibits a processing preference for planning global spatial movement features whereas the left hemisphere preferentially times local features of visual movement trajectories and adjusts movement online.
Project description:Mapping cortical hemispheric asymmetries in infants would increase our understanding of the origins and developmental trajectories of hemispheric asymmetries. We analyze longitudinal cortical hemispheric asymmetries in 73 healthy subjects at birth, 1, and 2 years of age using surface-based morphometry of magnetic resonance images with a specific focus on the vertex position, sulcal depth, mean curvature, and local surface area. Prominent cortical asymmetries are found around the peri-Sylvian region and superior temporal sulcus (STS) at birth that evolve modestly from birth to 2 years of age. Sexual dimorphisms of cortical asymmetries are present at birth, with males having the larger magnitudes and sizes of the clusters of asymmetries than females that persist from birth to 2 years of age. The left supramarginal gyrus (SMG) is significantly posterior to the right SMG, and the maximum position difference increases from 10.2 mm for males (6.9 mm for females) at birth to 12.0 mm for males (8.4 mm for females) by 2 years of age. The right STS and parieto-occipital sulcus are significantly larger and deeper than those in the left hemisphere, and the left planum temporale is significantly larger and deeper than that in the right hemisphere at all 3 ages. Our results indicate that early hemispheric structural asymmetries are inherent and gender related.