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J Anat. 2010 Jul;217(1):38-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2010.01244.x.

Cerebellar asymmetry in a pair of monozygotic handedness-discordant twins.

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Magdalen College, Oxford, UK.


Increasing evidence for a cerebellar role in human cognition has accrued with respect to anatomically and functionally distinct lobules. Questions of laterality, however, have been largely overlooked. This study therefore introduced and applied a novel measurement protocol for comparatively bias-free analysis of cerebellar asymmetries. Volumetric measurements were performed on magnetic resonance images from a single pair of monozygotic handedness-discordant twins. Against a background of functional cortical asymmetry for verbal and visuo-spatial functional magnetic resonance imaging activation, which was mirrored in the left-handed twin (Lux et al. 2008), between-twin differences in cerebellar asymmetry are described. Interestingly, asymmetry measures for the whole cerebellum did not correspond to either the direction of hand preference or to the weaker (functional magnetic resonance imaging) lateralization of the left-handed twin. The twins both showed clockwise cerebellar torques. This mirrored a counter-clockwise cerebral torque in the right-handed twin only. Selected single cerebellar lobules V and VII displayed between-twin laterality differences that partially reflected their discrepant handedness. Whole cerebellum anatomical measures appeared to be unrelated to single functional cortical asymmetries. These analyses contribute further anatomical evidence pertaining to the existence of multiple structurally and functionally distinct cortico-cerebellar networks of the healthy human brain in vivo.

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