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Brain. 2001 Sep;124(Pt 9):1701-7.

Calculation difficulties in children of very low birthweight: a neural correlate.

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MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre and Radiology and Physics Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street,London WC1N 1EH, UK.


Learning difficulties, including problems with numeracy, are common in Western populations. Many children with learning difficulty are survivors of preterm birth. Although some of these children have neurological disabilities, many are neurologically normal, and the latter group provides us with an important opportunity to investigate the neural bases of learning problems. We have conducted a neuroimaging study of adolescent children who had been born preterm at 30 weeks gestation or less, to investigate the relationship between brain structure and a specific difficulty in arithmetic calculation. Using voxel-based morphometry, we have been able to demonstrate that there is an area in the left parietal lobe where children without a deficit in calculation ability have more grey matter than those who do have this deficit. To our knowledge, this is the first report establishing a structural neural correlate of calculation ability in a group of neurologically normal individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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