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Supplementary Material for: Alexithymia Is Associated with Altered Cortical Thickness Networks in the General Population

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posted on 06.03.2020, 09:41 by Terock J., Frenzel S., Wittfeld K., Klinger-König J., Janowitz D., Bülow R., Hosten N., Völzke H., Grabe H.J.
Background: Alexithymia is a personality trait characterized by difficulties in identifying and describing emotions and associated with various psychiatric disorders. Neuroimaging studies found evidence for morphological and functional brain alterations in alexithymic subjects. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alexithymia remain incompletely understood. Methods: We study the association of alexithymia with cortical correlation networks in a large community-dwelling sample of the Study of Health in Pomerania. Our analysis includes data of n = 2,199 individuals (49.4% females, age = 52.1 ± 13.6 years) which were divided into a low and high alexithymic group by a median split of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Cortical correlation networks were constructed based on the mean thicknesses of 68 regions, and differences in centralities were investigated. Results: We found a significantly increased centrality of the right paracentral lobule in the high alexithymia network after correction for multiple testing. Several other regions with motoric and sensory functions showed altered centrality on a nominally significant level. Conclusions: Finding increased centrality of the paracentral lobule, a brain area with sensory as well as motoric features and involvement in bowel and bladder voiding, may contribute to explain the association of alexithymia with functional somatic disorders and chronic pain syndromes.