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Structural asymmetries of the human cerebellum in relation to cerebral cortical asymmetries and handedness

Kavaklioglu, T., Guadalupe, T., Zwiers, M., Marquand, A. F., Onnink, M., Shumskaya, E., Brunner, H., Fernandez, G., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2017). Structural asymmetries of the human cerebellum in relation to cerebral cortical asymmetries and handedness. Brain Structure & Function, 22, 1611-1623. doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1295-9.
There is evidence that the human cerebellum is involved not only in motor control but also in other cognitive functions. Several studies have shown that language-related activation is lateralized toward the right cerebellar hemisphere in most people, in accordance with leftward cerebral cortical lateralization for language and a general contralaterality of cerebral–cerebellar activations. In terms of behavior, hand use elicits asymmetrical activation in the cerebellum, while hand preference is weakly associated with language lateralization. However, it is not known how, or whether, these functional relations are reflected in anatomy. We investigated volumetric gray matter asymmetries of cerebellar lobules in an MRI data set comprising 2226 subjects. We tested these cerebellar asymmetries for associations with handedness, and for correlations with cerebral cortical anatomical asymmetries of regions important for language or hand motor control, as defined by two different automated image analysis methods and brain atlases, and supplemented with extensive visual quality control. No significant associations of cerebellar asymmetries to handedness were found. Some significant associations of cerebellar lobular asymmetries to cerebral cortical asymmetries were found, but none of these correlations were greater than 0.14, and they were mostly method-/atlas-dependent. On the basis of this large and highly powered study, we conclude that there is no overt structural manifestation of cerebellar functional lateralization and connectivity, in respect of hand motor control or language laterality
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