CCN meeting | Arnaud Cachia (Université de Paris, France)

27-04-2023 from 15:00 to 16:00
Henri Dunantlaan 2, Leslokaal 2.3 &

CCN meeting | Arnaud Cachia (Université de Paris, France), invited by Wim Fias

Deciphering the fetal foundation of cognition and psychiatric symptoms from the cortex sulcation

Growing evidence supports that prenatal processes play an important role for cognitive ability in normal and clinical conditions. In this context, several neuroimaging studies searched for features in postnatal life that could serve as a proxy for earlier developmental events. A very interesting candidate is the sulcal, or sulco-gyral, patterns, macroscopic features of the cortex anatomy related to the fold topology—e.g., continuous vs. interrupted/broken fold, present vs. absent fold-or their spatial organization. Indeed, as opposed to quantitative features of the cortical sheet (e.g., thickness, surface area or curvature) taking decades to reach the levels measured in adults, the qualitative sulcal patterns are mainly determined before birth and stable across the lifespan. The sulcal patterns therefore offer a window on the fetal constraints on specific brain areas on cognitive abilities and clinical symptoms that manifest later in life. After a global overview of the cerebral cortex sulcation, its mechanisms, its ontogenesis along with methodological issues on how to measure the sulcal patterns, I will present studies illustrating that analysis of the sulcal patterns can provide information on prenatal dispositions to cognition (with a focus on cognitive control and academic abilities, including numerical cognition along with reading and writing) and cognitive symptoms (with a focus on schizophrenia and bipolar disorders).