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Neuroimage. 2018 Jun 7. pii: S1053-8119(18)30519-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.06.012. [Epub ahead of print]

Multi-method brain imaging reveals impaired representations of number as well as altered connectivity in adults with dyscalculia.

Author information

1
Brain and Cognition, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium.
2
Neuromotor Rehabilitation, Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium.
3
Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium.
4
Brain and Cognition, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium; Neuromotor Rehabilitation, Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium.
5
Brain and Cognition, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium; Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3UD, UK.
6
Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3UD, UK; Research Center for Motor Control and Neuroplasticity, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3001, Belgium; Neural Control of Movement Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8057, Switzerland.
7
Brain and Cognition, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium. Electronic address: hans.opdebeeck@kuleuven.be.

Abstract

Two hypotheses have been proposed about the etiology of neurodevelopmental learning disorders, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia: representation impairments and disrupted access to representations. We implemented a multi-method brain imaging approach to directly investigate these representation and access hypotheses in dyscalculia, a highly prevalent but understudied neurodevelopmental disorder in learning to calculate. We combined several magnetic resonance imaging methods and analyses, including univariate and multivariate analyses, functional and structural connectivity. Our sample comprised 24 adults with dyscalculia and 24 carefully matched controls. Results showed a clear deficit in the non-symbolic magnitude representations in parietal, temporal and frontal regions, as well as hyper-connectivity in visual brain regions in adults with dyscalculia. Dyscalculia in adults was thereby related to both impaired number representations and altered connectivity in the brain. We conclude that dyscalculia is related to impaired number representations as well as altered access to these representations.

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