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Concept: Cerebral hemisphere


The corpus callosum is the major axon tract that connects and integrates neural activity between the two cerebral hemispheres. Although ∼1:4,000 children are born with developmental absence of the corpus callosum, the primary etiology of this condition remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that midline crossing of callosal axons is dependent upon the prior remodeling and degradation of the intervening interhemispheric fissure. This remodeling event is initiated by astroglia on either side of the interhemispheric fissure, which intercalate with one another and degrade the intervening leptomeninges. Callosal axons then preferentially extend over these specialized astroglial cells to cross the midline. A key regulatory step in interhemispheric remodeling is the differentiation of these astroglia from radial glia, which is initiated by Fgf8 signaling to downstream Nfi transcription factors. Crucially, our findings from human neuroimaging studies reveal that developmental defects in interhemispheric remodeling are likely to be a primary etiology underlying human callosal agenesis.

Concepts: Radial glia, Nervous system, Neuron, White matter, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Corpus callosum, Cerebrum, Cerebral hemisphere


The corpus callosum is hypothesized to play a fundamental role in integrating information and mediating complex behaviors. Here, we demonstrate that lack of normal callosal development can lead to deficits in functional connectivity that are related to impairments in specific cognitive domains. We examined resting-state functional connectivity in individuals with agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC) and matched controls using magnetoencephalographic imaging (MEG-I) of coherence in the alpha (8-12 Hz), beta (12-30 Hz) and gamma (30-55 Hz) bands. Global connectivity (GC) was defined as synchronization between a region and the rest of the brain. In AgCC individuals, alpha band GC was significantly reduced in the dorsolateral pre-frontal (DLPFC), posterior parietal (PPC) and parieto-occipital cortices (PO). No significant differences in GC were seen in either the beta or gamma bands. We also explored the hypothesis that, in AgCC, this regional reduction in functional connectivity is explained primarily by a specific reduction in interhemispheric connectivity. However, our data suggest that reduced connectivity in these regions is driven by faulty coupling in both inter- and intrahemispheric connectivity. We also assessed whether the degree of connectivity correlated with behavioral performance, focusing on cognitive measures known to be impaired in AgCC individuals. Neuropsychological measures of verbal processing speed were significantly correlated with resting-state functional connectivity of the left medial and superior temporal lobe in AgCC participants. Connectivity of DLPFC correlated strongly with performance on the Tower of London in the AgCC cohort. These findings indicate that the abnormal callosal development produces salient but selective (alpha band only) resting-state functional connectivity disruptions that correlate with cognitive impairment. Understanding the relationship between impoverished functional connectivity and cognition is a key step in identifying the neural mechanisms of language and executive dysfunction in common neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders where disruptions of callosal development are consistently identified.

Concepts: Cognition, Brain, Temporal lobe, Cerebral hemisphere, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Corpus callosum, Psychology, Cerebrum


Unlike most languages that are written using a single script, Japanese uses multiple scripts including morphographic Kanji and syllabographic Hiragana and Katakana. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging with dynamic causal modeling to investigate competing theories regarding the neural processing of Kanji and Hiragana during a visual lexical decision task. First, a bilateral model investigated interhemispheric connectivity between ventral occipito-temporal (vOT) cortex and Broca’s area (“pars opercularis”). We found that Kanji significantly increased the connection strength from right-to-left vOT. This is interpreted in terms of increased right vOT activity for visually complex Kanji being integrated into the left (i.e. language dominant) hemisphere. Secondly, we used a unilateral left hemisphere model to test whether Kanji and Hiragana rely preferentially on ventral and dorsal paths, respectively, that is, they have different intrahemispheric functional connectivity profiles. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that Kanji increased connectivity within the ventral path (V1 ↔ vOT ↔ Broca’s area), and that Hiragana increased connectivity within the dorsal path (V1 ↔ supramarginal gyrus ↔ Broca’s area). Overall, the results illustrate how the differential processing demands of Kanji and Hiragana influence both inter- and intrahemispheric interactions.

Concepts: Cerebral hemisphere, Hiragana, Japanese writing system, Japanese language, Brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Katakana, Kanji


A growing body of evidence is reviewed showing that degree of handedness (consistent versus inconsistent) is a more powerful and appropriate way to classify handedness than the traditional one based on direction (right versus left). Experimental studies from the domains of episodic memory retrieval, belief updating/cognitive flexibility, risk perception, and more are described. These results suggest that inconsistent handedness is associated with increased interhemispheric interaction and increased access to processes localized to the right cerebral hemisphere.

Concepts: Right-wing politics, Left-wing politics, Cerebral hemisphere, Amnesia, Memory, Episodic memory


Successful interaction with the external environment requires a balance between novel or exploratory and routine or exploitative behaviours. This distinction is often expressed in terms of location or orientation of the body relative to surrounding space: functions in which the vestibular system plays an important role. However, the distinction can also be applied to novel versus repetitive production of any behaviour or symbol. Here, we investigated whether vestibular inputs contribute to the balance between novel and routine behaviours, independently of their effects on spatial orienting, by assessing effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) on a random number generation task. Right-anodal/left-cathodal GVS, which preferentially activates the left cerebral hemisphere decreased the randomness of the sequence, while left-anodal/right-cathodal GVS, which preferentially activates the right hemisphere increased it. GVS did not induce any spatial biases in locations chosen from the number line. Our results suggest that vestibular stimulation of each hemisphere has a specific effect on the balance between novel and routine actions. We found no evidence for effects of non-specific arousal due to GVS on random number generation, and no evidence for effects on number generation consistent with modulation of spatial attention due to GVS.

Concepts: Cerebral cortex, Statistical randomness, Cerebral hemisphere, Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, Randomization, Hardware random number generator, Randomness, Vestibular system


Preoperative functional mapping in children younger than 5 years old remains a challenge. Awake functional MRI (fMRI) is usually not an option for these patients. Except for a description of passive fMRI in sedated patients and magnetoencephalography, no other noninvasive mapping method has been reported as a preoperative diagnostic tool in children. Therefore, invasive intraoperative direct cortical stimulation remains the method of choice. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case of a young child undergoing preoperative functional motor cortex mapping with the aid of navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS). In this 3-year-old boy with a rolandic ganglioglioma, awake preoperative mapping was performed using nTMS. A precise location of Broca area 4 could be established. The surgical approach was planned according to the preoperative findings. Intraoperative direct cortical stimulation verified the location of the nTMS hotspots, and complete resection of the precentral tumor was achieved. Navigated TMS is a precise tool for preoperative motor cortex mapping and is feasible even in very young pediatric patients. In children for whom performing the fMRI motor paradigm is challenging, nTMS is the only available option for functional mapping.

Concepts: Brain, Medical tests, Cerebral hemisphere, Functional neuroimaging, Wernicke's area, Neurotechnology, Electroencephalography, Transcranial magnetic stimulation


Over 100 years ago Lombroso [(1876/2006). Criminal man. Durham: Duke University Press] proposed a biological basis for criminality. Based on inspection of criminals' skulls he theorized that an imbalance of the cerebral hemispheres was amongst 18 distinguishing features of the criminal brain. Specifically, criminals were less lateralized than noncriminals. As the advent of neuroscientific techniques makes more fine-grained inspection of differences in brain structure and function possible, we review criminals' and noncriminals' structural, functional, and behavioural lateralization to evaluate the merits of Lombroso’s thesis and investigate the evidence for the biological underpinning of criminal behaviour. Although the body of research is presently small, it appears consistent with Lombroso’s proposal: criminal psychopaths' brains show atypical structural asymmetries, with reduced right hemisphere grey and white matter volumes, and abnormal interhemispheric connectivity. Functional asymmetries are also atypical, with criminal psychopaths showing a less lateralized cortical response than noncriminals across verbal, visuo-spatial, and emotional tasks. Finally, the incidence of non-right-handedness is higher in criminal than non-criminal populations, consistent with reduced cortical lateralization. Thus despite Lombroso’s comparatively primitive and inferential research methods, his conclusion that criminals' lateralization differs from that of noncriminals is borne out by the neuroscientific research. How atypical cortical asymmetries predispose criminal behaviour remains to be determined.

Concepts: Cesare Lombroso, Sociology, Cerebrum, Brain, Cerebral hemisphere, Cerebral cortex, Crime, Criminology


Training during a sensitive period in development may have greater effects on brain structure and behavior than training later in life. Musicians are an excellent model for investigating sensitive periods because training starts early and can be quantified. Previous studies suggested that early training might be related to greater amounts of white matter in the corpus callosum, but did not control for length of training or identify behavioral correlates of structural change. The current study compared white-matter organization using diffusion tensor imaging in early- and late-trained musicians matched for years of training and experience. We found that early-trained musicians had greater connectivity in the posterior midbody/isthmus of the corpus callosum and that fractional anisotropy in this region was related to age of onset of training and sensorimotor synchronization performance. We propose that training before the age of 7 years results in changes in white-matter connectivity that may serve as a scaffold upon which ongoing experience can build.

Concepts: Psychology, Cerebral hemisphere, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, White matter, Menstrual cycle, Imaging, Cerebrum, Corpus callosum


Purpose To explore cerebral alterations related to the emergence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by using three-dimensional T1-weighted imaging and also to explore the relationship of gray and white matter abnormalities and the anatomic changes with clinical severity and duration of time since the trauma. Materials and Methods Informed consent was provided, and the prospective study was approved by the ethics committee of the West China Hospital. Recruited were 67 patients with PTSD and 78 adult survivors without PTSD 7-15 months after a devastating earthquake in western China. All participants underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with a 3-T imager to obtain anatomic images. Cortical thickness and volumes of 14 subcortical gray matter structures and five subregions of the corpus callosum were analyzed with software. Statistical differences between patients with PTSD and healthy survivors were evaluated with a general linear model. Averaged data from the regions with volumetric or cortical thickness differences between groups were extracted in each individual to examine correlations between morphometric measures and clinical profiles. Results Patients with PTSD showed greater cortical thickness in the right superior temporal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and left precuneus (P < .05; Monte Carlo null-z simulation corrected) and showed reduced volume in the posterior portion of the corpus callosum (F = 6.167; P = .014) compared with healthy survivors of the earthquake. PTSD severity was positively correlated with cortical thickness in the left precuneus (r = 0.332; P = .008). The volumes of posterior corpus callosum were negatively correlated with PTSD ratings in all survivors (r = -0.210; P = .013) and with cortical thickness of the left precuneus in patients with PTSD (r = -0.302; P = .017). Conclusion Results indicate that patients with PTSD had alterations in both cerebral gray matter and white matter compared with individuals who experienced similar psychologic trauma from the same stressor. Importantly, early in the course of PTSD, gray matter changes were in the form of increased, not decreased, cortical thickness, which may have resulted from neuroinflammatory or other trophic process related to endocrine changes or functional compensation. (©) RSNA, 2016.

Concepts: Thermodynamics, Cerebral hemisphere, White matter, Psychological trauma, Rape, Cerebral cortex, Cerebrum, Corpus callosum


Cognition is supported by a network of axonal connections between gray matter regions within and between right and left cerebral cortex. Global organizing principles of this circuitry were examined with network analysis tools applied to monosynaptic association (within one side) and commissural (between sides) connections between all 77 cortical gray matter regions in each hemisphere of the rat brain. The analysis used 32,350 connection reports expertly collated from published pathway tracing experiments, and 5,394 connections of a possible 23,562 were identified, for a connection density of 23%-of which 20% (1,084) were commissural. Network community detection yielded a stable bihemispheric six-module solution, with an identical set in each hemisphere of three modules topographically forming a lateral core and medial shell arrangement of cortical regions. Functional correlations suggest the lateral module deals preferentially with environmental sensory-motor interactions and the ventromedial module deals preferentially with visceral control, affect, and short-term memory, whereas the dorsomedial module resembles the default mode network. Analysis of commissural connections revealed a set of unexpected rules to help generate hypotheses. Most notably, there is an order of magnitude more heterotopic than homotopic projections; all cortical regions send more association than commissural connections, and for each region, the latter are always a subset of the former; the number of association connections from each cortical region strongly correlates with the number of its commissural connections; and the module (dorsomedial) lying closest to the corpus callosum has the most complete set of commissural connections-and apparently the most complex function.

Concepts: White matter, Brain, Cortical column, Cerebrum, Cerebral hemisphere, Grey matter, Corpus callosum, Cerebral cortex