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Brain Res. 2009 Oct 19;1294:80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.07.046. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

The relations between white matter and declarative memory in older children and adolescents.

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Program in Neuroscience and Mental Health, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Neural communication between the temporal and frontal cortex underlies mature declarative memory skills. The integrity of white matter pathways connecting these regions is likely critical in supporting this communication. Little is known about the relationship between white matter and declarative memory in older children and adolescents, an age period when advanced function in this domain is established. We acquired diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data for 22 participants (9-15 years). Multiple DTI indices were calculated for the uncinate fasciculus - the major white matter tract connecting temporal and prefrontal regions. Indices were also calculated for compartments of lobar and posterior fossa white matter. Measures of visual-perceptual and auditory-verbal memory were administered. Correlation analyses were used to examine the relations between age, DTI indices, and memory. Voxel-wise analyses were also conducted. Age-related increases in FA were evident for frontal, parietal, and temporal hemispheric white matter. Proficiency in auditory-verbal memory was related to white matter integrity in the left uncinate fasciculus as well as parietal and cerebellar white matter. Proficiency in recall of a complex design was related to integrity within parietal and temporal regions. Our findings support the role of white matter in facilitating connectivity between cerebral regions important for declarative memory.

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