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Psychol Sci. 2014 Oct;25(10):1870-83. doi: 10.1177/0956797614544511. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

White matter morphometric changes uniquely predict children's reading acquisition.

Author information

1
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco.
2
Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, KU Leuven.
3
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco Department of Psychology, University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
4
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College.
5
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto University.
6
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London.
7
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco Haskins Laboratories, Yale University Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine fumiko.hoeft@ucsf.edu fumiko.hoeft@gmail.com.

Abstract

This study examined whether variations in brain development between kindergarten and Grade 3 predicted individual differences in reading ability at Grade 3. Structural MRI measurements indicated that increases in the volume of two left temporo-parietal white matter clusters are unique predictors of reading outcomes above and beyond family history, socioeconomic status, and cognitive and preliteracy measures at baseline. Using diffusion MRI, we identified the left arcuate fasciculus and superior corona radiata as key fibers within the two clusters. Bias-free regression analyses using regions of interest from prior literature revealed that volume changes in temporo-parietal white matter, together with preliteracy measures, predicted 56% of the variance in reading outcomes. Our findings demonstrate the important contribution of developmental differences in areas of left dorsal white matter, often implicated in phonological processing, as a sensitive early biomarker for later reading abilities, and by extension, reading difficulties.

KEYWORDS:

brain; childhood development; cognitive development; literacy; reading; white matter

PMID:
25212581
PMCID:
PMC4326021
DOI:
10.1177/0956797614544511
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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