Atypical Sulcal Pattern in Children with Developmental Dyslexia and At-Risk Kindergarteners

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Developmental dyslexia (DD) is highly heritable and previous studies observed reduced cortical volume, white matter integrity, and functional alterations in left posterior brain regions in individuals with DD. The primary sulcal pattern has been hypothesized to relate to optimal organization and connections of cortical functional areas. It is determined during prenatal development and may reflect early, genetically influenced, brain development. We characterize the sulcal pattern using graph-based pattern analysis and investigate whether sulcal patterns in parieto-temporal and occipito-temporal regions are atypical in elementary school-age children with DD and pre-readers/beginning readers (preschoolers/kindergarteners) with a familial risk (elementary school-age children: n [males/females], age range = 17/11, 84–155 months; preschoolers/kindergarteners: 16/15, 59–84 months). The pattern of sulcal basin area in left parieto-temporal and occipito-temporal regions was significantly atypical (more sulcal basins of smaller size) in children with DD and further correlated with reduced reading performance on single- and nonword reading measures. A significantly atypical sulcal area pattern was also confirmed in younger preschoolers/kindergarteners with a familial risk of DD. Our results provide further support for atypical early brain development in DD and suggest that DD may originate from altered organization or connections of cortical areas in the left posterior regions.

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