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Cortical Folding Pattern and its Consistency Induced by Biological Growth.

ABSTRACT

Cortical folding, characterized by convex gyri and concave sulci, has an intrinsic relationship to the brain's functional organization. Understanding the mechanism of the brain's convoluted patterns can provide useful clues into normal and pathological brain function. In this paper, the cortical folding phenomenon is interpreted both analytically and computationally, and, in some cases, the findings are validated with experimental observations. The living human brain is modeled as a soft structure with a growing outer cortex and inner core to investigate its developmental mechanism. Analytical interpretations of differential growth of the brain model provide preliminary insight into critical growth ratios for instability and crease formation of the developing brain. Since the analytical approach cannot predict the evolution of cortical complex convolution after instability, non-linear finite element models are employed to study the crease formation and secondary morphological folds of the developing brain. Results demonstrate that the growth ratio of the cortex to core of the brain, the initial thickness, and material properties of both cortex and core have great impacts on the morphological patterns of the developing brain. Lastly, we discuss why cortical folding is highly correlated and consistent by presenting an intriguing gyri-sulci formation comparison.