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Banfi, Chiara; Koschutnig, Karl; Moll, Kristina; Schulte-Koerne, Gerd; Fink, Andreas; Landerl, Karin (2019): White matter alterations and tract lateralization in children with dyslexia and isolated spelling deficits. In: Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 40, No. 3: pp. 765-776
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The present study investigated whether children with a typical dyslexia profile and children with isolated spelling deficits show a distinct pattern of white matter alteration compared with typically developing peers. Relevant studies on the topic are scarce, rely on small samples, and often suffer from the limitations of conventional tensor-based methods. The present Constrained Spherical Deconvolution study includes 27 children with typical reading and spelling skills, 21 children with dyslexia and 21 children with isolated spelling deficits. Group differences along major white matter tracts were quantified utilizing the Automated Fiber Quantification software and a lateralization index was calculated in order to investigate the structural asymmetry of the tracts. The two deficit groups mostly displayed different patterns of white matter alterations, located in the bilateral inferior longitudinal fasciculi, right superior longitudinal fasciculus, and cingulum for the group with dyslexia and in the left arcuate fasciculus for the group with isolated spelling deficits. The two deficit groups differed also with respect to structural asymmetry. Children with dyslexia did not show the typical leftward asymmetry of the arcuate fasciculus, whereas the group with isolated spelling deficits showed absent rightward asymmetry of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. This study adds evidence to the notion that different profiles of combined or isolated reading and spelling deficits are associated with different neural signatures.