Neural correlates of orbital telorism

Mikolaj A. Pawlak, Maria J. Knol, Meike W. Vernooij, M. Arfan Ikram, Hieab H.H. Adams, T. E. Evans*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Orbital telorism, the interocular distance, is clinically informative and in extremes is considered a minor physical anomaly. While its extremes, hypo- and hypertelorism, have been linked to disorders often related to cognitive ability, little is known about the neural correlates of normal variation of telorism within the general population. We derived measures of orbital telorism from cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by calculating the distance between the eyeball center of gravity in two population-based datasets (N = 5,653, N = 29,824; mean age 64.66, 63.75 years). This measure was found to be related to grey matter tissue density within numerous regions of the brain, including, but surprisingly not limited to, the frontal regions, in both positive and negative directions. Additionally, telorism was related to several cognitive functions, such as Purdue pegboard test (Beta, P-value (CI95%) −.02, 1.63 × 10−7 (−.03:-.01)) and fluid intelligence (.02, 4.75 × 10−6 (.01:0.02)), with some relationships driven by individuals with a smaller orbital telorism. This is reflective of the higher prevalence of hypotelorism in developmental disorders, specifically those that accompany lower cognitive lower functioning. This study suggests, despite previous links only made in clinical extremes, that orbital telorism holds some relation to structural brain development and cognitive function in the general population. This relationship is likely driven by shared developmental periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalCortex
Volume145
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MAP was supported by the H2020 Grant 730897 ?Transnational Access Program for a Pan-European Network of HPC Research Infrastructures and Laboratories for scientific computing?. HHHA was supported by ZonMW grant number 916.19.151. We thank SURFsara (www.surfsara.nl) for their support in using the Dutch national supercomputer Cartesius. This study was carried out using UK Biobank Application number 23509, and we thank the participants in the UK Biobank imaging study (https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/). The Rotterdam Study (http://www.epib.nl/research/ergo.htm) is supported by the Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), The Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, the European Commission (DG XII), and the Municipality of Rotterdam. This study was further financially supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) grants 948-00-010 and 918-46-615. None of the funding organizations or sponsors were involved in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management analysis and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. We would also like to thank the participants of the Rotterdam Study.

Funding Information:
MAP was supported by the H2020 Grant 730897 “Transnational Access Program for a Pan-European Network of HPC Research Infrastructures and Laboratories for scientific computing”. HHHA was supported by ZonMW grant number 916.19.151. We thank SURFsara ( www.surfsara.nl ) for their support in using the Dutch national supercomputer Cartesius. This study was carried out using UK Biobank Application number 23509, and we thank the participants in the UK Biobank imaging study ( https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/ ). The Rotterdam Study ( http://www.epib.nl/research/ergo.htm ) is supported by the Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) , The Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports , the European Commission (DG XII), and the Municipality of Rotterdam. This study was further financially supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) grants 948-00-010 and 918-46-615 . None of the funding organizations or sponsors were involved in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management analysis and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. We would also like to thank the participants of the Rotterdam Study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

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