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Neuroimage. 2006 Feb 15;29(4):1224-30. Epub 2005 Oct 11.

A curvature-based approach to estimate local gyrification on the cortical surface.

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Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, 710 Westwood Plaza, 4238 Reed, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA.


Using magnetic resonance imaging and a new method to analyze local surface shape, we examined the effects of gender on gyrification in a large and well-matched sample of healthy subjects. Unlike traditional 2D methods that produce whole-brain measurements of cortical complexity or more sophisticated 3D parametric mesh-based techniques that allow only different sections (lobes) of the cortex to be investigated, we employed a novel approach with increased spatial resolution. Although our method is sensitive to similar cortical features like the classic whole-brain gyrification index (depths of sulci and heights of gyri), we are now able to provide detailed and regionally specific estimates of cortical convolution at thousands of points across the cortical surface without introducing any bias through the rater or the selected orientation of the slices. We revealed pronounced gender differences, showing increased gyrification in frontal and parietal regions in females compared to males that agree with recent regions-of-interest findings. In addition, we detected higher female gyrification in temporal and occipital cortices that was not previously identified in studies using more global measures. No cortical area was significantly more convoluted in males compared to females. Our results demonstrate the sensitivity of this automated approach for identifying very local changes in gyrification. This technique may serve to isolate regionally specific changes in fissuration/gyrification in neurodevelopmental or neuropsychiatric disorders.

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