Poster Session A, Saturday, March 23, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Increased functional connectivity of the right amygdala can interfere with reading and affect emotional state and cognitive control
Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus1,2, Ohad Nachshon1; 1Educational Neuroimaging Center, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering and Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Technion, Israel, 2Reading and Literacy Discovery Center, Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Introduction: Dyslexia is a reading disorder characterized by significant reading difficulties (RD) as well as social and emotional problems. Based on the relationship between Executive-Functions (EF) and emotional states, this study was designed to establish neurobiological evidence for differences in neural circuitry involved in EF and emotional state in children with RD and typical readers. Methods: Sixty 8-12 year-old children, 30 children with RD and 30 age-matched typical readers, participated in the study. Emotional and EF abilities were assessed using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). Functional-connectivity analysis during the reading task and in a 10-min functional MRI resting-state condition was carried out using the CONN toolbox. Results: Children with RD showed significantly lower emotional and EF abilities compared to typical readers. A significant negative correlation between emotional, EF, and reading abilities was determined between the two groups. Neuroimaging results showed lower global efficiency within the emotional network in children in RDs compared to typical readers. Increased functional connectivity within the emotional network was associated with increased EF and emotional abilities. The functional connectivity analysis between specific regions within the emotional network and the entire brain showed a significantly lower functional connectivity between the amygdala and left and right frontal pole regions in children with RD compared to typical readers. Conclusions: The results supports the “vicious cycle” between EF, emotional abilities and reading challenges: EF difficulties may cause emotional stress, which in turn can decrease EF abilities and also reading abilities.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions