White matter integrity of cerebellar-cortical tracts in reading impaired children: A probabilistic tractography study

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Little is known about the white matter integrity of cerebellar-cortical pathways in individuals with dyslexia. Building on previous findings of decreased volume in the anterior lobe of the cerebellum, we utilized novel cerebellar segmentation procedures and probabilistic tractography to examine tracts that connect the anterior lobe of the cerebellum and cortical regions typically associated with reading: the temporoparietal (TP), occipitotemporal (OT), and inferior frontal (IF) regions. The sample included 29 reading impaired children and 27 typical readers. We found greater fractional anisotropy (FA) for the poor readers in tracts connecting the cerebellum with TP and IF regions relative to typical readers. In the OT region, FA was greater for the older poor readers, but smaller for the younger ones. This study provides evidence for discrete, regionally-bound functions of the cerebellum and suggests that projections from the anterior cerebellum appear to have a regulatory effect on cortical pathways important for reading.

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