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May 1993

Anomalous Cerebral Structure in Dyslexia Revealed With Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neuroscience (Dr Leonard), Psychiatry (Drs Voeller and Morris and Ms Garofalakis), Communication Processes and Disorders (Dr Lombardino), and Radiology (Drs Honeyman, Mao, Agee, and Staab), University of Florida, and the Morris Center (Drs Alexander and Andersen), Gainesville; and the Department of Special Education, University of Georgia, Athens (Dr Hynd).

Arch Neurol. 1993;50(5):461-469. doi:10.1001/archneur.1993.00540050013008

• Objective.  —To develop quantitative methods for identifying cerebral anomalies on magnetic resonance images of subjects with language disorders and other learning disabilities.

Design.  —Partially blinded comparison of subjects with dyslexia, unaffected relatives, and a control group balanced for age and socioeconomic status. Criterion standard: clinical diagnosis of dyslexia by physician or learning disabilities specialist on the basis of clinical assessment and family history.

Settings.  —Hospital pediatric neurology clinic and private reading clinic.

Patients and Other Participants.  —Volunteers: individuals with dyslexia (seven male and two female, aged 15 to 65 years) from professional families; unaffected first- and second-degree relatives (four male and six female, aged 6 to 63 years) available in the geographical area; and controls (five male and seven female, aged 14 to 52 years).

Interventions.  —Gradient echo three-dimensional scan in Seimens 1-Tesla Magnetom; 128 1.25-mm consecutive sagittal images.

Main Outcome Measures.  —(1) Average length of the temporal (T) and parietal (P) banks of the planum temporale; (2) interhemispheric coefficients of asymmetry for T and P banks: Left-Right interhemispheric coefficients of asymmetry= (L-R)/[(L+R)/2]; (3) intrahemispheric coefficients of asymmetry=(T-P)/[(T+P)/2]; and (4) qualitative assessment of gyral variants in the parietotemporal operculum.

Results.  —All groups had left-sided asymmetry for the temporal bank and right-sided asymmetry for the parietal bank. The group with dyslexia had exaggerated asymmetries, owing to a significant shift of right planar tissue from the temporal to parietal bank. They also had a higher incidence of cerebral anomalies bilaterally (subjects with dyslexia, six of nine; relatives, two of 10; and controls, zero of 12).

Conclusions.  —Quantitative assessment of high-resolution magnetic resonance images can reveal functionally relevant variations and anomalies in cerebral structure. Further refinement of these measurement techniques should improve the diagnosis, classification, and treatment of language disorders and other learning disabilities.