Abstract

The recent observations of overall symmetry of the caudal infrasylvian region by Steinmetz et al. (1990) and Witelson and Kigar (1991, 1992) diverge from earlier findings of leftward asymmetry in this region (Geschwind and Levitsky, 1968; Galaburda at al., 1987; Larsen et al., 1989). To address this inconsistency, we measured the entire infrasylvian surface posterior to Heachl's gyrus from coronal magnetic resonance images of 10 young, normal, right-handed subjects. Computer models were constructed by tracing contours of this region and then interpolating a 3D triangle mesh between each pair of adjacent contours. Measurements of these models showed no significant directional asymmetry. The same contour sat was used to obtain measurements with a conventional algorithm that does not interpolate a surface between contours. The results obtained with the second method showed significant left-ward asymmetry. These results suggest that in some cases, unbalanced distortions due to folding differences of the hemispheres are sufficient to obtain spurious findings of left-right asymmetry. This supports the claim of Steinmetz end Witelson that leftward asymmetry is restricted to the temporal bank of the caudal infrasylvian surface, and is balanced by rightward asymmetry of the parietal bank.

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