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Longitudinal Brain Development of Numerical Skills in Typically Developing Children and Children with Developmental Dyscalculia


McCaskey, Ursina; von Aster, Michael; Maurer, Urs; Martin, Ernst; O'Gorman Tuura, Ruth; Kucian, Karin (2018). Longitudinal Brain Development of Numerical Skills in Typically Developing Children and Children with Developmental Dyscalculia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11:629.

Abstract

Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a learning disability affecting the acquisition of numerical-arithmetical skills. Studies report persistent deficits in number processing and aberrant functional activation of the fronto-parietal numerical network in DD. However, the neural development of numerical abilities has been scarcely investigated. The present paper provides a first attempt to investigate behavioral and neural trajectories of numerical abilities longitudinally in typically developing (TD) and DD children. During a study period of 4 years, 28 children (8-11 years) were evaluated twice by means of neuropsychological tests and a numerical order fMRI paradigm. Over time, TD children improved in numerical abilities and showed a consistent and well-developed fronto-parietal network. In contrast, DD children revealed persistent deficits in number processing and arithmetic. Brain imaging results of the DD group showed an age-related activation increase in parietal regions (intraparietal sulcus), pointing to a delayed development of number processing areas. Besides, an activation increase in frontal areas was observed over time, indicating the use of compensatory mechanisms. In conclusion, results suggest a continuation in neural development of number representation in DD, whereas the neural network for simple ordinal number estimation seems to be stable or show only subtle changes in TD children over time.

Abstract

Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a learning disability affecting the acquisition of numerical-arithmetical skills. Studies report persistent deficits in number processing and aberrant functional activation of the fronto-parietal numerical network in DD. However, the neural development of numerical abilities has been scarcely investigated. The present paper provides a first attempt to investigate behavioral and neural trajectories of numerical abilities longitudinally in typically developing (TD) and DD children. During a study period of 4 years, 28 children (8-11 years) were evaluated twice by means of neuropsychological tests and a numerical order fMRI paradigm. Over time, TD children improved in numerical abilities and showed a consistent and well-developed fronto-parietal network. In contrast, DD children revealed persistent deficits in number processing and arithmetic. Brain imaging results of the DD group showed an age-related activation increase in parietal regions (intraparietal sulcus), pointing to a delayed development of number processing areas. Besides, an activation increase in frontal areas was observed over time, indicating the use of compensatory mechanisms. In conclusion, results suggest a continuation in neural development of number representation in DD, whereas the neural network for simple ordinal number estimation seems to be stable or show only subtle changes in TD children over time.

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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
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:4 January 2018
Deposited On:02 Feb 2018 08:41
Last Modified:01 Mar 2018 01:53
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00629
Related URLs:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758587/
PubMed ID:29354041
Other Identification Number:PMCID: PMC5758587

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