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Human cortical folding across regions within individual brains follows universal scaling law

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yujiang WangORCiD, Joe NecusORCiD, Dr Luis Peraza RodriguezORCiD, Dr Peter TaylorORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Different cortical regions vary systematically in their morphology. Here we investigate if the scaling law of cortical morphology, which was previously demonstrated across both human subjects and mammalian species, still holds within a single cortex across different brain regions. By topologically correcting for regional curvature, we could analyse how different morphological parameters co-vary within single cortices. We show in over 1500 healthy individuals that, despite their morphological diversity, regions of the same cortex obey the same universal scaling law, and age morphologically at similar rates. In Alzheimer’s disease, we observe a premature ageing in the morphological parameters that was nevertheless consistent with the scaling law. The premature ageing effect was most dramatic in the temporal lobe. Thus, while morphology can vary substantially across cortical regions, subjects, and species, it always does so in accordance with a common scaling law, suggesting that the underlying processes driving cortical gyrification are universal.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wang Y, Necus J, Peraza Rodriguez L, Taylor PN, Mota B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Communications Biology

Year: 2019

Volume: 2

Online publication date: 20/05/2019

Acceptance date: 04/04/2019

Date deposited: 06/06/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2399-3642

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s42003-019-0421-7


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Funder referenceFunder name
208940/Z/17/ZWellcome Trust