Association between maternal reading ability and fluency and child diffusion properties of language white matter tracts in pre-school age children
Rola Farah1, Hagai Tzafrir1, Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus1; 1Technion- Israel Institute of Technology
Background: Early language exposure and shared parent–child reading, as assessed by maternal reading ability and fluency, has a tremendous impact on the child’s future language abilities. The aim of the current study was to explore association of maternal reading ability and fluency on diffusion properties of language white matter tracts in their pre-school age children using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Methods: DTI data were acquired from fifteen girls (mean age: 3.83 ± 0.49 years). Effects of hemisphere and node on diffusion properties were measured at 99 points along white matter tracts related to language abilities. Maternal reading ability (TOWRE-SWE) and reading fluency (TOSREC) were assessed and associated with their children’s diffusion measures and corrected for multiple comparisons. Results: Diffusion properties exhibited a significant variability along the length of the tracts with hemisphere and node effects. Fractional Anisotropy (FA) was significantly higher in the left Arcuate, Cingulum cingulate and Inferior longitudinal fasciculus while FA was significantly higher in the right Superior longitudinal fasciculus. No significant differences in mean diffusivity between the hemispheres were observed except from in the Uncinate fasciculus. Furthermore, significant positive correlations were found between maternal reading ability and FA in the left and right Arcuate fasciculus and between maternal reading fluency and FA in the right Uncinate. Conclusions: Our results suggest positive correlations between maternal reading ability and fluency scores and higher FA in their child’s white matter tracts related to language, signifying the importance of maternal reading as a facilitator of the child’s future language abilities.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging