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Population Differences in Brain Morphology and Microstructure among Chinese, Malay, and Indian Neonates
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Author: Jordan Bai et al.

by Jordan Bai, Muhammad Farid Abdul-Rahman, Anne Rifkin-Graboi, Yap-Seng Chong, Kenneth Kwek, Seang-Mei Saw, Keith M. Godfrey, Peter D. Gluckman, Marielle V. Fortier, Michael J. Meaney, Anqi Qiu

We studied a sample of 75 Chinese, 73 Malay, and 29 Indian healthy neonates taking part in a cohort study to examine potential differences in neonatal brain morphology and white matter microstructure as a function of ethnicity using both structural T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). We first examined the differences in global size and morphology of the brain among the three groups. We then constructed the T2-weighted MRI and DTI atlases and employed voxel-based analysis to investigate ethnic differences in morphological shape of the brain from the T2-weighted MRI, and white matter microstructure measured by fractional anisotropy derived from DTI. Compared with Malay neonates, the brains of Indian neonates’ tended to be more elongated in anterior and posterior axis relative to the superior-inferior axis of the brain even though the total brain volume was similar among the three groups. Although most anatomical regions of the brain were similar among Chinese, Malay, and Indian neonates, there were anatomical variations in the spinal-cerebellar and cortical-striatal-thalamic neural circuits among the three populations. The population-related brain regions highlighted in our study are key anatomical substrates associated with sensorimotor functions.