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Schmitt JE, Eliez S, Bellugi U, Reiss AL. Analysis of Cerebral Shape in Williams Syndrome. Arch Neurol. 2001;58(2):283–287. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.2.283
As a neurobehavioral disorder with a specific neurocognitive profile and a well-defined genetic etiology, Williams syndrome (WMS) provides an exceptional opportunity to examine associations among measures of behavior, neuroanatomy, and genetics. This study was designed to determine how cerebral shape differs between the brains of subjects with WMS and those of normal controls.
Twenty adults with clinically and genetically diagnosed WMS (mean ± SD age, 28.5 ± 8.3 years) and 20 healthy, age- and sex-matched controls (mean ± SD age, 28.5 ± 8.2 years).
High-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging data were used for shape-based morphological analysis of the right and left cerebral hemispheres and the corpus callosum. Statistical analyses were performed to examine group differences.
Both right and left cerebral hemispheres of subjects with WMS bend to a lesser degree in the sagittal plane than normal controls (P<.001). The corpus callosum also bends less in subjects with WMS (P = .05). In addition, subjects with WMS have decreased cerebral (P<.001) and corpus callosum (P<.001) midline lengths.
Subjects with WMS have significantly different cerebral shape from normal controls, perhaps due to decreased parieto-occipital lobe volumes relative to frontal regions. The similar observation in the corpus callosum may be associated with a decreased size of the splenium in WMS. These findings may provide important clues to the effect of genes in the WMS-deleted region on brain development.
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