White matter microstructure correlates with mathematics but not word reading performance in 13-year-old children born very preterm and full-term

Collins, Simonne E.; Spencer-Smith, Megan; Mürner-Lavanchy, Ines; Kelly, Claire E.; Pyman, Philippa; Pascoe, Leona; Cheong, Jeanie; Doyle, Lex W.; Thompson, Deanne K.; Anderson, Peter J. (2019). White matter microstructure correlates with mathematics but not word reading performance in 13-year-old children born very preterm and full-term. NeuroImage: Clinical, 24(101944), p. 101944. Elsevier 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101944

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Individuals born very preterm (VPT; <32 weeks' gestational age) are at increased risk of impaired mathematics and word reading performance, as well as widespread white matter microstructural alterations compared with individuals born full term (FT; ≥37 weeks' gestational age). To date, the link between academic performance and white matter microstructure is not well understood. This study aimed to investigate the associations between mathematics and reading performance with white matter microstructure in 114 VPT and 36 FT 13-year-old children. Additionally, we aimed to investigate whether the association of mathematics and reading performance with white matter microstructure in VPT children varied as a function of impairment. To do this, we used diffusion tensor imaging and advanced diffusion modelling techniques (Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging and the Spherical Mean Technique), combined with a whole-brain analysis approach (Tract-Based Spatial Statistics). Mathematics performance across VPT and FT groups was positively associated with white matter microstructural measurements of fractional anisotropy and neurite density, and negatively associated with radial and mean diffusivities in widespread, bilateral regions. Furthermore, VPT children with a mathematics impairment (>1 standard deviation below FT mean) had significantly reduced neurite density compared with VPT children without an impairment. Reading performance was not significantly associated with any of the white matter microstructure parameters. Additionally, the associations between white matter microstructure and mathematics and reading performance did not differ significantly between VPT and FT groups. Our findings suggest that alterations in white matter microstructure, and more specifically lower neurite density, are associated with poorer mathematics performance in 13-year-old VPT and FT children. More research is required to understand the association between reading performance and white matter microstructure in 13-year-old children.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Research Division

UniBE Contributor:

Mürner-Lavanchy, Ines

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

2213-1582

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Chantal Michel

Date Deposited:

20 Sep 2019 10:54

Last Modified:

25 Oct 2019 12:35

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101944

PubMed ID:

31426019

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.133366

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/133366

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