Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Intelligence, Frontal Lobe Gray Matter Link. (IQ Inheritance Linked to Brain Structure)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Intelligence, Frontal Lobe Gray Matter Link. (IQ Inheritance Linked to Brain Structure)

Article excerpt

Inheritance of human intelligence seems largely due to genetic controls over the amount of gray matter in the frontal cortex.

Although there is "a mountain of evidence that some portion of intelligence is a heritable trait," this finding is the first which has implicated the frontal lobes as a region of the brain in which genetic factors may have an influence on intelligence, commented Stephen M. Kosslyn, Ph.D., who is a psychologist at Harvard University in Boston.

Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles, used magnetic resonance imaging to analyze the brain structure of 20 monozygotic and 20 dizygotic pairs of twins.

This imaging showed that "the quantity of frontal gray matter, in particular, was most similar in those individuals who were genetically alike." It also showed that "these individual differences in brain structure were tightly linked with individual differences in intelligence," reported Paul M. Thompson, Ph.D., and his associates (Nature Neuroscience 4[12]:1253-58, 2001).

"We set out to make the first maps of genetic influences on brain structure. Our goal was to produce an image of the brain [using magnetic resonance imaging] like a jigsaw puzzle, and then to color code each part of the brain" in order to depict the extent to which the amount of gray matter within each segment was actually controlled by genetics, explained Dr. Thompson, who is a neurologist at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of California, Los Angeles. …

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