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Hum Brain Mapp. 2005 Oct;26(2):139-47.

Cognitive functions correlate with white matter architecture in a normal pediatric population: a diffusion tensor MRI study.

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Imaging Research Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH 45229, USA.


A possible relationship between cognitive abilities and white matter structure as assessed by magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was investigated in the pediatric population. DTI was performed on 47 normal children ages 5-18. Using a voxelwise analysis technique, the fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were tested for significant correlations with Wechsler full-scale IQ scores, with subject age and gender used as covariates. Regions displaying significant positive correlations of IQ scores with FA were found bilaterally in white matter association areas, including frontal and occipito-parietal areas. No regions were found exhibiting correlations of IQ with MD except for one frontal area significantly overlapping a region containing a significant correlation with FA. The positive direction of the correlation with FA is the same as that found previously with age, and indicates a positive relationship between fiber organization and/or density with cognitive function. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that regionally specific increased fiber organization is a mechanism responsible for the normal development of white matter tracts.

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