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Neuroimage. 2001 Feb;13(2):262-71.

Hemispheric shape of European and Japanese brains: 3-D MRI analysis of intersubject variability, ethnical, and gender differences.

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C. & O. Vogt Institute of Brain Research and Institute of Neuroanatomy, University of Duesseldorf, P.O. Box 101007, D-40001 Duesseldorf, Germany.


Hemispheric shape is studied using magnetic resonance imaging and 3-D reconstructions in right-handed, male and female, European and Japanese subjects. Japanese hemispheres are relatively shorter, but wider than European hemispheres. Regions of maximal intersubject variability in hemispheric shape are present in the occipital and temporal lobes in each sample. Deviations from this general pattern are found in the (i) right inferior parietal lobule (European hemispheres are more variable than Japanese), (ii) lower third of the pre- and postcentral gyri (female Japanese hemispheres are less variable than the other samples), (iii) right inferior frontal gyrus (male European hemispheres are more variable than the other samples), and (iv) polar part of the frontal lobe (female European hemispheres are less variable than the other samples). The distribution of intersubject variability between the hemispheres is less asymmetric in female than male brains. Male Japanese hemispheres are shorter but wider than female Japanese hemispheres, whereas European hemispheres show the inverse gender relations. These results demonstrate that hemispheric shape shows a considerable intersubject variability, which is not randomly distributed over the cortical surface but displays distinct regions of higher variability. Despite this intersubject variability significant interethnic- and gender-related differences in hemispheric shape are present, which may be relevant if individual brains have to be warped to a single or mean reference brain or realistic brain models are to be constructed.

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