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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

Print version ISSN 0101-8108


CROW, Timothy J.. Cerebral asymmetry and the lateralization of language: core deficits in schizophrenia as pointers to the genetic predisposition. Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul [online]. 2004, vol.26, n.2, pp.122-134. ISSN 0101-8108.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Cerebral asymmetry (the torque from right frontal to left occipital) is the defining feature of the human brain, and as Broca proposed, the putative neural correlate of language. If as has been suggested schizophrenia is the price that Homo sapiens pays for language, the torque together with its functional correlates is of central significance. Recent evidence from anatomical, functional and genetic studies is reviewed. RECENT FINDINGS: Both post-mortem and anatomical imaging studies show evidence of a reduction or reversal of aspects of asymmetry particularly in the occipito-temporo-parietal association cortex. In some studies there is an interaction with sex. There is evidence that change in the left temporal lobe is sometimes progressive. Functional studies add substance to the concept that the lateralization of language is reduced and in some aspects reversed. SUMMARY: The dimension of asymmetry stands out as the variable that can make sense of observations across fields of investigation, and provides a key to the genetic basis of psychosis. Discordant monozygotic twin studies have indicated strongly that the relevant variation is epigenetic; this is consistent with the possibility that the variation is related to recent structural changes (the Xq21.3/Yp duplicative transposition) on the sex chromosomes.

Keywords : Cerebral asymmetry; language; psychosis; sapiens; schizophrenia.

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