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Neuroimage. 2006 Oct 15;33(1):46-54. Epub 2006 Aug 9.

Increased local gyrification mapped in Williams syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Jena, Jena, Germany.


Applying a recently developed method to analyze gyrification with excellent spatial resolution across thousands of points across the lateral and medial cortical surface, we mapped differences in cortical surface anatomy between subjects with Williams syndrome (WS; n=42) and an age-matched sample of healthy subjects (n=40). WS subjects showed increased gyrification bilaterally in occipital regions and over the cuneus. Differences were more pronounced in the left hemisphere than in the right, with additional regions of increased gyrification in WS in the left precuneus, posterior and anterior cingulate, paracentral and mesial frontal lobe. No cortical area was significantly more convoluted in healthy subjects relative to the WS subjects. On the lateral surfaces, the direction and pattern of gyrification asymmetries were similar in WS subjects and controls; posterior brain regions had greater gyrification in the left hemisphere, while anterior brain regions showed greater gyrification in the right hemisphere. On the medial surfaces, control subjects and WS individuals differed considerably with respect to the degree but also direction of gyrification asymmetry. Our findings confirm and extend previous studies measuring cortical complexity at the global whole-brain or hemispheric levels. The observed gyrification abnormalities in individuals with WS might be related to dysfunctions in neuronal circuits and consequently contribute to the distinct cognitive and behavioral profile accompanying the disorder.

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