Leonard Eckert 2008

Authors: Leonard Christiana M, Eckert Mark A.

Article: Assymetry and Dyslexia.

Publication: Developmental Neuropsychology . 2008 | DOI: 10.1080/87565640802418597

Developmental language disorders are characterized by a maturational trajectory that deviates or lags that of normal children. Given the wide variation in the rate of normal language development, diagnosis and classification of these disorders poses severe problems for the clinician. Our laboratory has been searching for anatomical signatures that could aid the development of a neurobiologically based classification. Quantitative analysis of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of a series of samples of children and adults with reading and language disorders has identified two clusters with contrasting anatomical and reading profiles. Individuals with small symmetrical brain structures tend to have deficits in multiple domains of written and oral language while those with larger asymmetrical structures are more likely to have the isolated phonological deficits seen in adults with compensated dyslexia. Surprisingly, the anatomical risk factors that define these clusters do not form a continuum of increasing severity but deviate in opposite directions from normal. Individuals with moderate brain size and asymmetry typically demonstrate the best over-all performance. Further research should determine if phonological impairments in the two clusters are associated with differing genetic and environmental risk factors requiring different types of intervention.

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