Merel Postema will defend her thesis on Wednesday 7th of July 2021

29 June 2021
On Wednesday 7 July 2021, at 12.30, Merel Postema will defend her thesis entitled 'Left-right asymmetry of the human brain: associations with neurodevelopmental disorders and genetic factors'. Due to the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, and the corresponding limitations regarding number of guests allowed in the Academiezaal, the event will be accessible via live-stream. As with all defences, it is a public event and everybody is welcome to join online.

Link to live-stream

A healthy brain has various differences of anatomy and function between its left and right sides. For example, most people have left-hemisphere dominance for language functions, and are also right-handed. In this thesis, Merel Postema found that asymmetries of grey matter in the brain are slightly reduced in people with autism, but less so in people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Altered development of the brain’s left-right axis may therefore predispose to autism. Genetic contributions to the development of brain asymmetry were also studied, first in data from thousands of healthy adults, and then in people with a rare condition in which the internal body organs are reversed on the left-right axis. Although there was evidence that some aspects of brain asymmetry are partly heritable, most of the variation between people could not be linked to specific genes, and probably originates randomly during development of the fetus.

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