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Abstract #4443

Increased Gray Matter Volume and Cortical Surface Area of Left Pars Opercularis in Male Orchestral Musicians Correlated Positively with Years of Musical Performance

Ihssan Abdul-Kareem1, Andrej Stancak2, Laura Parkes3, Vanessa Sluming1

1School of Health Sciences, Magnetic Resonance and Image Analysis Research Centre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom; 2Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom; 3Department of Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering, School of Cancer and Imaging Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

Musicians brains have long been studied for possible structural brain differences in response to skill acquisition. Brocas region is crucial for several musically relevant abilities. We compare manual gray and white matter volume measurements and automatic cortical surface area measurements of Brocas region subparts: pars opercularis (POP) and pars triangularis between 26 musicians and 26 non-musicians, all right handed. Musicians have significantly increased gray matter volume and cortical surface area of left POP which was positively correlated with years of musical performance. We hypothesize that prolonged skill acquisition is an environmentally enriching activity resulting in structural reorganization of left POP.