Callosal size in children with learning disabilities

Behav Brain Res. 1994 Oct 20;64(1-2):213-8. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(94)90133-3.


The corpus callosum (CC), the main structure subserving hemispheric collaboration, that is necessary for efficient cognitive functioning, undergoes developmental processes such as axonal retraction and myelination. Callosal growth therefore is vulnerable for adverse events such as perinatal asphyxia, but there are also genetic and epigenetic factors that determine form and thickness. MRI scans of 110 children, either with specific learning disabilities (LD), i.e. dysphasia/dyslexia, or with several degrees of general LD, showed callosa that were highly variable in size. The callosal size corrected for brain size did not vary significantly according to the severity of the LD, although it tended to be smaller in severe LD, i.e. mental retardation. Callosal size varied however, due to the likely presence of genetic influences or of adverse perinatal events. Children with familial dysphasia/dyslexia, had a thicker CC, possibly reflecting a poorly understood neurodevelopmental mechanism that inhibits the establishment of cerebral dominance. LD children (all subgroups together) with perinatal adverse events had a smaller CC than the familial cases, suggesting CC damage. Despite a multitude of developmental factors influencing the final size, this study suggests that total callosal size, supposedly linked to interhemispheric function, may contribute to the pathophysiological mechanisms that give rise to LD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aphasia / diagnosis*
  • Aphasia / physiopathology
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / diagnosis
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / physiopathology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology*
  • Corpus Callosum / physiopathology
  • Dyslexia / diagnosis*
  • Dyslexia / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Development Disorders / physiopathology
  • Learning Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Learning Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / physiopathology
  • Reference Values