More precuneus

One more paper on precuneus morphology. The precuneus displays a remarkable (and definitely striking) variation in its size and shape in adult humans. One can think that such geometric diversity is due to cranial deformation and constraints, and not to real (primary) brain differences. And, if real cortical differences are involved, one can think that its longitudinal and vertical extensions are the result of the same process: overall larger (or smaller) precuneus. In this new study, we have analyzed its longitudinal, vertical and lateral proportions, as to see whether there is a unique morphological pattern, or else if those directions of growth are independent. Results support the latter conclusion: its relative development in length is not patently associated with its relative development in height or width. This may suggest that distinct areas (and functions) are involved. And, of course, that such variations are due to real (primary) brain features, and not to (secondary) deformation due to cranial factors. It remains to be evaluated to what extent the grey or the white matter do generate these spatial variations, and which specific areas are involved. The precuneus is much more developed and expanded in humans when compared with other primates, including apes, and its corresponding regions appear also larger in modern humans when compared with extinct human species, including Neandertals. The homology of its areas, when comparing humans, apes and monkeys, remain to be fully understood, although new stimulating information is now available, in this sense. Previous articles on the same topic dealt with precuneus general shape, sulcal patterns, population variability, brain-braincase relationships, primate variations and cortical surface area. Here a review on the evolution of the parietal lobes. The precuneus is mainly involved in visuospatial integration, and it represents a central node for the integration between brain, body and environment, as well as a crucial center for body cognition.

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