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Developmental dyscalculia: a dysconnection syndrome?


Kucian, Karin; Ashkenazi, Simone Schwizer; Hänggi, Jürgen; Rotzer, Stephanie; Jäncke, Lutz; Martin, Ernst; von Aster, Michael (2014). Developmental dyscalculia: a dysconnection syndrome? Brain Structure & Function, 219(5):1721-1733.

Abstract

Numerical understanding is important for everyday life. For children with developmental dyscalculia (DD), numbers and magnitudes present profound problems which are thought to be based upon neuronal impairments of key regions for numerical understanding. The aim of the present study was to investigate possible differences in white matter fibre integrity between children with DD and controls using diffusion tensor imaging. White matter integrity and behavioural measures were evaluated in 15 children with developmental dyscalculia aged around 10 years and 15 matched controls. The main finding, obtained by a whole brain group comparison, revealed reduced fractional anisotropy in the superior longitudinal fasciculus in children with developmental dyscalculia. In addition, a region of interest analysis exhibited prominent deficits in fibres of the superior longitudinal fasciculus adjacent to the intraparietal sulcus, which is thought to be the core region for number processing. To conclude, our results outline deficient fibre projection between parietal, temporal and frontal regions in children with developmental dyscalculia, and therefore raise the question of whether dyscalculia can be seen as a dysconnection syndrome. Since the superior longitudinal fasciculus is involved in the integration and control of distributed brain processes, the present results highlight the importance of considering broader domain-general mechanisms in the diagnosis and therapy of dyscalculia.

Abstract

Numerical understanding is important for everyday life. For children with developmental dyscalculia (DD), numbers and magnitudes present profound problems which are thought to be based upon neuronal impairments of key regions for numerical understanding. The aim of the present study was to investigate possible differences in white matter fibre integrity between children with DD and controls using diffusion tensor imaging. White matter integrity and behavioural measures were evaluated in 15 children with developmental dyscalculia aged around 10 years and 15 matched controls. The main finding, obtained by a whole brain group comparison, revealed reduced fractional anisotropy in the superior longitudinal fasciculus in children with developmental dyscalculia. In addition, a region of interest analysis exhibited prominent deficits in fibres of the superior longitudinal fasciculus adjacent to the intraparietal sulcus, which is thought to be the core region for number processing. To conclude, our results outline deficient fibre projection between parietal, temporal and frontal regions in children with developmental dyscalculia, and therefore raise the question of whether dyscalculia can be seen as a dysconnection syndrome. Since the superior longitudinal fasciculus is involved in the integration and control of distributed brain processes, the present results highlight the importance of considering broader domain-general mechanisms in the diagnosis and therapy of dyscalculia.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
4 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Date:September 2014
Deposited On:12 Jul 2013 14:43
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:52
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1863-2653
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-013-0597-4
PubMed ID:23783231

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