Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is traditionally associated with neuropathology in the cerebellar dentate nucleus and spinal cord. Growing evidence also suggests involvement of the cerebral and cerebellar cortices, although reports of structural abnormalities remain mixed. This study assessed the structural integrity of cortical grey matter in FRDA, focussing on regions in which pathology may underlie the motor deficits characteristic of this disorder. T1-weighted anatomical magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired from 31 individuals with FRDA and 37 healthy controls. Cortical thickness (FreeSurfer) and cortical volume (SPM-VBM) were measured in cerebral motor regions-of-interest (primary motor, dorsal and ventral premotor, and supplementary motor areas) alongside unconstrained exploratory analyses of the cerebral and cerebellar cortices. Correlations were assessed between cortical thickness/volume measures and each of disease severity, length of the causative genetic triplet-repeat expansion, and finger-tapping behavioural measures.
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