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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 30;109(44):E3045-53. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1206792109. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Development of white matter and reading skills.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94035, USA. jyeatman@stanford.edu

Abstract

White matter tissue properties are highly correlated with reading proficiency; we would like to have a model that relates the dynamics of an individual's white matter development to their acquisition of skilled reading. The development of cerebral white matter involves multiple biological processes, and the balance between these processes differs between individuals. Cross-sectional measures of white matter mask the interplay between these processes and their connection to an individual's cognitive development. Hence, we performed a longitudinal study to measure white-matter development (diffusion-weighted imaging) and reading development (behavioral testing) in individual children (age 7-15 y). The pattern of white-matter development differed significantly among children. In the left arcuate and left inferior longitudinal fasciculus, children with above-average reading skills initially had low fractional anisotropy (FA) that increased over the 3-y period, whereas children with below-average reading skills had higher initial FA that declined over time. We describe a dual-process model of white matter development comprising biological processes with opposing effects on FA, such as axonal myelination and pruning, to explain the pattern of results.

PMID:
23045658
PMCID:
PMC3497768
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1206792109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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