The cingulum as an important measure of individual difference in brain development
Joe Bathelt1, Mengya Zhang1, the CALM team1, Duncan Astle1; 1MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge
We investigated the relationship between individual differences in white matter microstructure and cognitive abilities in children. Individual differences in white matter were investigated in a representative database of typical development (NKI Rockland Sample, n=74, Age: 13.93 + 3.164SD) by extracting FA values for 10 major white matter tracts (JHU white matter atlas) and grouping individuals by similarity using a data-driven clustering approach. The algorithm indicated the presence of two groups that were distinguished primarily by FA of the left and right anterior cingulum (p<0.001). The range of FA values within the cingulum were used to group children in an independent sample with large variation in cognitive abilities (Centre for Attention, Learning, and Memory; n=165, Age: 9.81 -1.191SD). Comparison of cognitive scores between these groups indicated significant differences in fluid IQ, vocabulary, verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory, and long-term memory (p<0.05). To investigate the association between cognitive scores and specific connections, the cingulum tract was reconstructed and connections were mapped using a connectomics approach. The results indicated significant differences between the clustering-defined groups in connections of the cuneus, parahippocampal, enthorhinal, and superior frontal cortex (p<0.05). A specific association between variation in fluid IQ and strength of the connection between the left precuneus and left superior frontal cortex was found (beta=0.286, p=0.005). These results indicate that cingulum-mediated connections are closely associated with inter-individual variation in cognitive ability in development.
Topic Area: THINKING: Development & aging