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White matter development

At the 3rd international conference on 22q11 in Barcelone, Joëlle Bagautdinova – van der Molen covered the topic of white matter development in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

The brain is made of grey matter – mainly the neuronal bodies, on the surface of the brain – and white matter – that is found deep inside the brain and is composed of the “cables” between the neurons. As we can see on the following image, the brain continues to mature after birth and until adulthood, and more and more white matter develops each year. 

The development of the brain is influenced by combination of genetic and environmental factors, and only matures in adulthood (between 20 and 40+ years old, depending on brain region). 

White matter with 22q11 individuals  

Alterations of white matter volume and microstructure is widespread with 22q11, but the knowledge we have on the subject is limited due to limited sample size and discordant results. 

In this talk, Joëlle Bagautdinova – van der Molen explains how she intends to bridge that gap by characterizing the developmental trajectories of white matter microstructure in 22q11 individuals.

She made 300 scans on 200 people ranging from 5 to 35 years old and uncovered that 22q11DS is associated with widespread alterations of white matter microstructure. More precisely, alterations are already visible early during development, pointing to pre-, perinatal or early childhood altered maturation of white matter microstructure. 

Click here to read the full presentation