Multi-parameter machine learning approach to the neuroanatomical basis of developmental dyslexia

Hum Brain Mapp. 2017 Feb;38(2):900-908. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23426. Epub 2016 Oct 6.


Despite decades of research, the anatomical abnormalities associated with developmental dyslexia are still not fully described. Studies have focused on between-group comparisons in which different neuroanatomical measures were generally explored in isolation, disregarding potential interactions between regions and measures. Here, for the first time a multivariate classification approach was used to investigate grey matter disruptions in children with dyslexia in a large (N = 236) multisite sample. A variety of cortical morphological features, including volumetric (volume, thickness and area) and geometric (folding index and mean curvature) measures were taken into account and generalizability of classification was assessed with both 10-fold and leave-one-out cross validation (LOOCV) techniques. Classification into control vs. dyslexic subjects achieved above chance accuracy (AUC = 0.66 and ACC = 0.65 in the case of 10-fold CV, and AUC = 0.65 and ACC = 0.64 using LOOCV) after principled feature selection. Features that discriminated between dyslexic and control children were exclusively situated in the left hemisphere including superior and middle temporal gyri, subparietal sulcus and prefrontal areas. They were related to geometric properties of the cortex, with generally higher mean curvature and a greater folding index characterizing the dyslexic group. Our results support the hypothesis that an atypical curvature pattern with extra folds in left hemispheric perisylvian regions characterizes dyslexia. Hum Brain Mapp 38:900-908, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: brain anatomy; developmental dyslexia; grey matter; machine learning; reading impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Area Under Curve
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dyslexia / diagnostic imaging
  • Dyslexia / pathology*
  • Female
  • France
  • Functional Laterality
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Poland