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Zacharopoulos_et_al_SciRep2021.pdf (1.96 MB)

The relation between parietal GABA concentration and numerical skills

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-13, 08:01 authored by George Zacharopoulos, Francesco SellaFrancesco Sella, Uzay Emir, Roi Cohen Kadosh
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 1H 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.

Funding

European Research Council (Learning&Achievement Grant 338065)

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Scientific Reports

Volume

11

Issue

1

Publisher

Springer Nature

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer Nature under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

2021-05-12

Publication date

2021-09-03

Copyright date

2021

eISSN

2045-2322

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Francesco Sella. Deposit date: 6 September 2021

Article number

17656

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