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When it comes to intelligence, size matters
Date:3/25/2009

This release is available in French.

A collaborative study led by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University has demonstrated a positive link between cognitive ability and cortical thickness in the brains of healthy 6 to 18 year olds. The correlation is evident in regions that integrate information from different parts of the brain. The imaging study published this week in a special issue of scientific journal Intelligence is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind with a representative sample of healthy children and adolescents.

This study stems from the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development, for which the MNI was the data coordinating centre. The database contains MRI scans and other data on the structure and function of the developing brains. More than 500 children and adolescents from newborns to 18-year-olds had brain scans multiple times over a period of years as well as intelligence, neuropsychological, verbal, non-verbal and behavioural tests. This information is now contained within the database allowing scientists to study how normal developmental changes in brain anatomy relate to motor and behavioural skills, such as motor coordination and language acquisition. Even higher-order skills like planning, IQ, and organizational skills can be assessed.

Previous studies have shown that intelligence and cognitive ability are correlated with regional brain structure and function. The association between regional cortical thickness and intelligence has been little studied and most previous studies of normal children had a relatively small sample. So with improvements in MRI-based quantification of cortical thickness and a much larger sample, researchers aimed to examine this relationship and to further characterize and identify brain areas where cortical thickness was associated with
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Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert  

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