Study: Structural and functional asymmetry of the neonatal cerebral cortex

There is also a preprint version of this study here.

Structural and functional asymmetry of the neonatal cerebral cortex


Features of brain asymmetry have been implicated in a broad range of cognitive processes; however, their origins are still poorly understood. Using a new left-right symmetric, spatiotemporal cortical surface atlas, we investigated cortical asymmetries in 442 healthy neonates, scanned shortly after birth, using structural and functional magnetic resonance images from the Developing Human Connectome Project. Cortical asymmetries observed in the term cohort were contextualised in two ways: first by comparing them against cortical asymmetries observed in 103 preterm neonates scanned at term-equivalent age, and then by comparing structural asymmetries against those observed in 1110 healthy young adults from the Human Connectome Project. Results show that the neonatal cortex is markedly asymmetric in both structure and function, and that, while asymmetries are largely unaffected by preterm birth, marked changes occur between birth and adulthood. Additionally, biological sex did not appear to affect cortical asymmetries at birth, suggesting that sex-related differences seen in adulthood emerge after the neonatal period.

Nature Human Behaviour - DOI: 10.1038/s41562-023-01542-8

  • Logan Z. J. Williams
  • Sean P. Fitzgibbon
  • Jelena Bozek
  • Anderson M. Winkler
  • Ralica Dimitrova
  • Tanya Poppe
  • Andreas Schuh
  • Antonis Makropoulos
  • John Cupitt
  • Jonathan O'Muircheartaigh
  • Eugene P. Duff
  • Lucilio Cordero-Grande
  • Anthony N. Price
  • Joseph V. Hajnal
  • Daniel Rueckert
  • Stephen M. Smith
  • A. David Edwards
  • Emma C. Robinson