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The relation between parietal GABA concentration and numerical skills

George Zacharopoulos, Francesco Sella, Uzay Emir, Roi Cohen Kadosh

Scientific Reports, Volume: 11, Issue: 1, Pages: 17656 - 17656

Swansea University Author: George Zacharopoulos

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Abstract

Several scientific, engineering, and medical advancements are based on breakthroughs made by people who excel in mathematics. Our current understanding of the underlying brain networks stems primarily from anatomical and functional investigations, but our knowledge of how neurotransmitters subserve...

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Published in: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322 2045-2322
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58258
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Abstract: Several scientific, engineering, and medical advancements are based on breakthroughs made by people who excel in mathematics. Our current understanding of the underlying brain networks stems primarily from anatomical and functional investigations, but our knowledge of how neurotransmitters subserve numerical skills, the building block of mathematics, is scarce. Using <sup>1</sup>H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (N = 54, 3T, semi-LASER sequence, TE = 32 ms, TR = 3.5 s), the study examined the relation between numerical skills and the brain's major inhibitory (GABA) and excitatory (glutamate) neurotransmitters. A negative association was found between the performance in a number sequences task and the resting concentration of GABA within the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS), a key region supporting numeracy. The relation between GABA in the IPS and number sequences was specific to (1) parietal but not frontal regions and to (2) GABA but not glutamate. It was additionally found that the resting functional connectivity of the left IPS and the left superior frontal gyrus was positively associated with number sequences performance. However, resting GABA concentration within the IPS explained number sequences performance above and beyond the resting frontoparietal connectivity measure. Our findings further motivate the study of inhibition mechanisms in the human brain and significantly contribute to our current understanding of numerical cognition's biological bases.
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Funders: Wellcome Trust Grant: 203139/Z/16/Z European Research Council Grant: 338065
Issue: 1
Start Page: 17656
End Page: 17656