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Brain Lang. 2002 Dec;83(3):403-24.

Variability in the anatomy of the planum temporale and posterior ascending ramus: do right- and left handers differ?

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University Health Science Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA.


The anatomy of the planum temporale (PT) and posterior ascending ramus (PAR) was studied in vivo in 67 healthy right- and left-handed adults using MRI-based morphometry. The left PT was significantly larger than the right, and there was a weakly significant effect of the right PAR larger than the left. A leftward PT asymmetry was found in 72%, and a rightward PAR asymmetry was found in 64% of the sample. The "typical" configuration of a larger left PT and larger right PAR co-occurred in 56% of the subjects studied, which was only slightly more often than predicted by chance. Eight of 67 subjects had "reversed" PT and PAR asymmetries, with consistent left and mixed handers over-represented in this group. Right PAR size was the only variable that predicted writing hand, and left PT size was the only measure that differed by sex. The left PT was expanded relative to the left PAR in 93% of the sample, suggesting that this configuration may be developmentally regulated and may be a critical substrate for the development of language. These findings demonstrate that important relationships exist between hand preference, and the anatomy of posterior cortical language areas.

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