Imaging brain connectivity in children with diverse reading ability

Neuroimage. 2005 May 1;25(4):1266-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.12.053.


Reading is a complex cognitive skill that requires the coordination of multiple brain regions. Although functional neuroimaging studies highlight the cortical brain regions associated with a specific cognitive task like reading, they do not directly address the underlying neural connections necessary for efficient performance of this task. Adults with reading disability have demonstrated lower regional white matter connectivity, but it is not known whether this relationship between neuronal wiring and reading performance also holds in younger readers. Using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI) that highlights the structural integrity of the brain wiring, we show that regional brain connectivity in the left temporo-parietal white matter correlates with a wide range of reading ability in children as young as 8-12 years old. Diffusion tensor tractography suggests that the posterior limb of the internal capsule is consistent with the location of the largest cluster of correlation between reading ability (Word Identification subtest) and fractional anisotropy. The maturation of the white matter may play a key role in the development of cognitive processes such as reading.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reading*