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The fiber laterality histogram: a new way to measure white matter asymmetry.

Author information

1
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA, USA. odonnell@bwh.harvard.edu

Abstract

The quantification of brain asymmetries may provide biomarkers for presurgical localization of language function and can improve our understanding of neural structure-function relationships in health and disease. We propose a new method for studying the asymmetry of the white matter tracts in the entire brain, and we apply it to a preliminary study of normal subjects across the handedness spectrum. Methods for quantifying white matter asymmetry using diffusion MRI tractography have thus far been based on comparing numbers of fibers or volumes of a single fiber tract across hemispheres. We propose a generalization of such methods, where the "number of fibers" laterality measurement is extended to the entire brain using a soft fiber comparison metric. We summarize the distribution of fiber laterality indices over the whole brain in a histogram, and we measure properties of the distribution such as its skewness, median, and inter-quartile range. The whole-brain fiber laterality histogram can be measured in an exploratory fashion without hypothesizing asymmetries only in particular structures. We demonstrate an overall difference in white matter asymmetry in consistent- and inconsistent-handers: the skewness of the fiber laterality histogram is significantly different across handedness groups.

PMID:
20879319
PMCID:
PMC2999578
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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