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SfN: Brain Differences Linked to Social Network Size

THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Differences in social network size are correlated with changes in gray and white matter of certain areas of the brain as well as changes in brain connectivity, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held from Nov. 9 to 13 in San Diego.

Maryann P. Noonan, Ph.D., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues performed voxel-based morphometry to examine differences in whole brain structural gray matter in 18 subjects based on their self-reported 30-day social network size.

The researchers found that social network size was associated with gray matter changes in the functional contribution of the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to the default mode network. Social network size was also correlated with changes in the underlying white matter physiology and fractional anisotropy of the cingulum bundle, superior longitudinal fasciculus, extreme capsule, and arcuate fasciculus.

"We conclude the increased proficiency in social skills or social network management that presumably permit a larger social network size correlates with gray matter and fractional anisotropy, pointing to an extensive brain network underlying more extensive social networks," Noonan and colleagues write.

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