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Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 8;9(1):2260. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04627-5.

Rapid and widespread white matter plasticity during an intensive reading intervention.

Author information

1
Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA. ehuber@uw.edu.
2
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA. ehuber@uw.edu.
3
Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA.
4
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA.
5
eScience Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA.
6
Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA. jyeatman@uw.edu.
7
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA. jyeatman@uw.edu.

Abstract

White matter tissue properties are known to correlate with performance across domains ranging from reading to math, to executive function. Here, we use a longitudinal intervention design to examine experience-dependent growth in reading skills and white matter in grade school-aged, struggling readers. Diffusion MRI data were collected at regular intervals during an 8-week, intensive reading intervention. These measurements reveal large-scale changes throughout a collection of white matter tracts, in concert with growth in reading skill. Additionally, we identify tracts whose properties predict reading skill but remain fixed throughout the intervention, suggesting that some anatomical properties stably predict the ease with which a child learns to read, while others dynamically reflect the effects of experience. These results underscore the importance of considering recent experience when interpreting cross-sectional anatomy-behavior correlations. Widespread changes throughout the white matter may be a hallmark of rapid plasticity associated with an intensive learning experience.

PMID:
29884784
PMCID:
PMC5993742
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-04627-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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