Increased cortical thickness and altered functional connectivity of the right superior temporal gyrus in left-handers

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Abstract

Altered structure in the temporal cortex has been implicated in the variable language laterality of left-handers (LH). The neuroanatomy of language lateralization and the corresponding synchronous functional connectivity (FC) in handedness cohorts are not, however, fully understood. We used structural and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to investigate the effect of altered cortical thickness on FC in LH and right-handers (RH). Whole-brain cortical thickness was calculated and compared between the LH and RH. We observed increased cortical thickness in the right superior temporal gyrus (STG) in the LH. A further FC analysis was conducted between the right STG and the remaining voxels in the brain. Compared with RH, the LH showed significantly higher FC in the left STG, right occipital cortex, and lower FC in the left inferior frontal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus. Our findings suggest that LH have atypical connectivity in the language network, with an enhanced role of the STG, findings which provide novel insights into the structural and functional substrates underlying the atypical language development of left-handed individuals.

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