ABSTRACT: Resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) approaches offer a novel tool to delineate distinct functional networks in the brain. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we elucidated patterns of RSFC associated with 6 regions of interest selected primarily from a meta-analysis on word reading (Bolger DJ, Perfetti CA, Schneider W. 2005. Cross-cultural effect on the brain revisited: universal structures plus writing system variation. Hum Brain Mapp. 25: 92-104). In 25 native adult readers of English, patterns of positive RSFC were consistent with patterns of task-based activity and functional connectivity associated with word reading. Moreover, conjunction analyses highlighted the posterior left inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior left middle temporal gyrus (post-LMTG) as potentially important loci of functional interaction among 5 of the 6 reading networks. The significance of the post-LMTG has typically been unappreciated in task-based studies on unimpaired readers but is frequently reported to be a locus of hypoactivity in dyslexic readers and exhibits intervention-induced changes of activity in dyslexic children. Finally, patterns of negative RSFC included not only regions of the so-called default mode network but also regions involved in effortful controlled processes, which may not be required once reading becomes automatized. In conclusion, the current study supports the utility of resting-state fMRI for investigating reading networks and has direct relevance for the understanding of reading disorders such as dyslexia.
Project description:Children can learn the meaning of a new word from context during normal reading or listening, without any explicit instruction. It is unclear how such meaning acquisition is supported and achieved in human brain. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study we investigated neural networks supporting word learning with a functional connectivity approach. Participants were exposed to a new word presented in two successive sentences and needed to derive the meaning of the new word. We observed two neural networks involved in mapping the meaning to the new word. One network connected the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) with the middle frontal gyrus (MFG), medial superior frontal gyrus, caudate nucleus, thalamus, and inferior parietal lobule. The other network connected the left middle temporal gyrus (LMTG) with the MFG, anterior and posterior cingulate cortex. The LIFG network showed stronger interregional interactions for new than real words, whereas the LMTG network showed similar connectivity patterns for new and real words. We proposed that these two networks support different functions during word learning. The LIFG network appears to select the most appropriate meaning from competing candidates and to map the selected meaning onto the new word. The LMTG network may be recruited to integrate the word into sentential context, regardless of whether the word is real or new. The LIFG and the LMTG networks share a common node, the MFG, suggesting that these two networks communicate in working memory.
Project description:Reading is a learned activity that engages multiple cognitive systems. In a cohort of typical and struggling adult readers we show evidence that successful oral reading of real words is related to gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) concentration in the higher-order language system, whereas reading of unfamiliar pseudo-words is not related to GABA in this system. We also demonstrate the capability of resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) combined with GABA measures to predict single real word compared to pseudo-word reading performance. Results show that the strength of rsFC between left fusiform gyrus (L-FG) and higher-order language systems predicts oral reading behavior of real words, irrespective of the local concentration of GABA. On the other hand, pseudo-words, which require grapheme-to-phoneme conversion, are not predicted by the connection between L-FG and higher-order language system. This suggests that L-FG may have a multi-functional role: lexical processing of real words and grapheme-to-phoneme processing of pseudo-words. Additionally, rsFC between L-FG, pre-motor, and putamen areas are positively related to the oral reading of both real and pseudo-words, suggesting that text may be converted into a phoneme sequence for speech initiation and production regardless of whether the stimulus is a real word or pseudo-word. In summary, from a systems neuroscience perspective, we show that: (i) strong rsFC between higher order visual, language, and pre-motor areas can predict and differentiate efficient oral reading of real and pseudo-words. (ii) GABA measures, along with rsFC, help to further differentiate the neural pathways for previously learned real words versus unfamiliar pseudo-words.
Project description:Reading requires the interaction between multiple cognitive processes situated in distant brain areas. This makes the study of functional brain connectivity highly relevant for understanding developmental dyslexia. We used seed-voxel correlation mapping to analyse connectivity in a left-hemispheric network for task-based and resting-state fMRI data. Our main finding was reduced connectivity in dyslexic readers between left posterior temporal areas (fusiform, inferior temporal, middle temporal, superior temporal) and the left inferior frontal gyrus. Reduced connectivity in these networks was consistently present for 2 reading-related tasks and for the resting state, showing a permanent disruption which is also present in the absence of explicit task demands and potential group differences in performance. Furthermore, we found that connectivity between multiple reading-related areas and areas of the default mode network, in particular the precuneus, was stronger in dyslexic compared with nonimpaired readers.
Project description:Functional connectivity analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging data are a powerful tool for characterizing brain networks and how they are disrupted in neural disorders. However, many such analyses examine only one or a small number of a priori seed regions. Studies that consider the whole brain frequently rely on anatomic atlases to define network nodes, which might result in mixing distinct activation time-courses within a single node. Here, we improve upon previous methods by using a data-driven brain parcellation to compare connectivity profiles of dyslexic (DYS) versus non-impaired (NI) readers in the first whole-brain functional connectivity analysis of dyslexia.Whole-brain connectivity was assessed in children (n = 75; 43 NI, 32 DYS) and adult (n = 104; 64 NI, 40 DYS) readers.Compared to NI readers, DYS readers showed divergent connectivity within the visual pathway and between visual association areas and prefrontal attention areas; increased right-hemisphere connectivity; reduced connectivity in the visual word-form area (part of the left fusiform gyrus specialized for printed words); and persistent connectivity to anterior language regions around the inferior frontal gyrus.Together, findings suggest that NI readers are better able to integrate visual information and modulate their attention to visual stimuli, allowing them to recognize words on the basis of their visual properties, whereas DYS readers recruit altered reading circuits and rely on laborious phonology-based "sounding out" strategies into adulthood. These results deepen our understanding of the neural basis of dyslexia and highlight the importance of synchrony between diverse brain regions for successful reading.
Project description:Reading is a complex cognitive skill subserved by a distributed network of visual and language-related regions. Disruptions of connectivity within this network have been associated with developmental dyslexia but their relation to individual differences in the severity of reading problems remains unclear. Here we investigate whether dysfunctional connectivity scales with the level of reading dysfluency by examining EEG recordings during visual word and false font processing in 9-year-old typically reading children (TR) and two groups of dyslexic children: severely dysfluent (SDD) and moderately dysfluent (MDD) dyslexics. Results indicated weaker occipital to inferior-temporal connectivity for words in both dyslexic groups relative to TRs. Furthermore, SDDs exhibited stronger connectivity from left central to right inferior-temporal and occipital sites for words relative to TRs, and for false fonts relative to both MDDs and TRs. Importantly, reading fluency was positively related with forward and negatively with backward connectivity. Our results suggest disrupted visual processing of words in both dyslexic groups, together with a compensatory recruitment of right posterior brain regions especially in the SDDs during word and false font processing. Functional connectivity in the brain's reading network may thus depend on the level of reading dysfluency beyond group differences between dyslexic and typical readers.
Project description:The engagement of the cerebellum VI in reading was reported in both typically developing and dyslexic readers. However, it is still not clear how the cerebellum VI contributes to reading. Here we have examined the correlation of intrinsic cerebro-cerebellar functional connectivity with two critical reading-related skills-phonological awareness (PA) and rapid automatized naming (RAN)-with fMRI technology. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that the cerebellum may contribute to reading either by phonological skills or by automatizing skills. We chose the left and right cerebellum VI as ROIs, and we calculated the intrinsic cerebro-cerebellar functional connectivity during a resting state. We further explored whether and how cerebro-cerebellar resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) is associated with individuals' reading-related skills including PA and RAN. The results showed that the functional connectivity between the left supramarginal gyrus and bilateral cerebellum VI was related to RAN, and the connectivity between the left insula and right cerebellum VI was related to PA. However, the effect of PA did not survive after the RAN was regressed out. Control analyses further confirmed that it was the intrinsic cerebro-cerebellar functional connectivity rather than the local cerebellar functionality that associated with phonological awareness ability and rapid automatized naming ability. For the first time, the relationship between cerebro-cerebellar resting state functional connectivity and specific reading-related skills has been explored, and this has deepened our understanding of the way the cerebellum VI is involved in reading.
Project description:Key PointsDyslexia is a neurological disorder with a genetic origin, but the underlying biological and cognitive causes are still being investigated.This study compares the brain activation pattern while reading in Spanish, a semitransparent language, in three groups of children: typically developing readers, dyslexic readers and readers with functional monocular vision.Based on our results Dyslexia would be a neurological disorder not related to vision impairments and would require a multidisciplinary treatment based on improving phonological awareness and language development. Developmental dyslexia is a neurological disorder the underlying biological and cognitive causes of which are still being investigated, a key point, because the findings will determine the best therapeutic approach to use. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we studied the brain activation pattern while reading in the language-related cortical areas from the two reading routes, phonological and orthographic, and the strength of their association with reading scores in 66 Spanish-speaking children aged 9-12 years divided into three groups: typically developing readers (controls), dyslexic readers and readers with monocular vision due to ocular motility disorders but with normal reading development, to assess whether (or not) the neuronal network for reading in children with dyslexia has similarities with that in children with impaired binocular vision due to ocular motility disorders. We found that Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia have a brain circuit for reading that differs from that in children with monocular vision. Individuals with dyslexia tend to hypoactivate some of the language-related areas in the left hemisphere engaged by the phonological route, especially the visual word form area and left Wernicke's area, and try to compensate this deficit by activating language-related areas related to the orthographic route, such as the anterior part of the visual word form area and the posterior part of both middle temporal gyri. That is, they seem to compensate for impairment in the phonological route through orthographic routes of both hemispheres. Our results suggest that ocular motility disturbances do not play a causal role in dyslexia. Dyslexia seems to be a neurological disorder that is unrelated to vision impairments and requires early recognition and multidisciplinary treatment, based on improving phonological awareness and language development, to achieve the best possible outcome.
Project description:This study was aimed at predicting individual differences in text reading fluency. The basic proposal included two factors, i.e., the ability to decode letter strings (measured by discrete pseudo-word reading) and integration of the various sub-components involved in reading (measured by Rapid Automatized Naming, RAN). Subsequently, a third factor was added to the model, i.e., naming of discrete digits. In order to use homogeneous measures, all contributing variables considered the entire processing of the item, including pronunciation time. The model, which was based on commonality analysis, was applied to data from a group of 43 typically developing readers (11- to 13-year-olds) and a group of 25 chronologically matched dyslexic children. In typically developing readers, both orthographic decoding and integration of reading sub-components contributed significantly to the overall prediction of text reading fluency. The model prediction was higher (from ca. 37 to 52% of the explained variance) when we included the naming of discrete digits variable, which had a suppressive effect on pseudo-word reading. In the dyslexic readers, the variance explained by the two-factor model was high (69%) and did not change when the third factor was added. The lack of a suppression effect was likely due to the prominent individual differences in poor orthographic decoding of the dyslexic children. Analyses on data from both groups of children were replicated by using patches of colors as stimuli (both in the RAN task and in the discrete naming task) obtaining similar results. We conclude that it is possible to predict much of the variance in text-reading fluency using basic processes, such as orthographic decoding and integration of reading sub-components, even without taking into consideration higher-order linguistic factors such as lexical, semantic and contextual abilities. The approach validity of using proximal vs. distal causes to predict reading fluency is discussed.
Project description:Regular readers were found to adjust the routine of reading to the demands of processing imposed by different orthographies. Dyslexic readers may lack such adaptability in reading. This hypothesis was tested among readers of Hebrew, as Hebrew has two forms of script differing in phonological transparency. Event-related potentials were recorded from 24 regular and 24 dyslexic readers while they carried out a lexical decision task in these two forms of script. The two forms of script elicited distinct amplitudes and latencies at ?165 ms after target onset, and these effects were larger in regular than in dyslexic readers. These early effects appeared not to be merely a result of the visual difference between the two forms of script (the presence of diacritics). The next effect of form of script was obtained on amplitudes elicited at latencies associated with orthographic-lexical processing and the categorization of stimuli, and these appeared earlier in regular readers (?340 ms) than in dyslexic readers (?400 ms). The behavioral measures showed inferior reading skills of dyslexic readers compared to regular readers in reading of both forms of script. Taken together, the results suggest that although dyslexic readers are not indifferent to the type of orthography read, they fail to adjust the routine of reading to the demands of processing imposed by both a transparent and an opaque orthography.