Cortical thickness abnormalities associated with dyslexia, independent of remediation status

Yizhou Ma, Maki S. Koyama, Michael P. Milham, F. Xavier Castellanos, Brian T. Quinn, Heath Pardoe, Xiuyuan Wang, Ruben Kuzniecky, Orrin Devinsky, Thomas Thesen, Karen Blackmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Abnormalities in cortical structure are commonly observed in children with dyslexia in key regions of the "reading network." Whether alteration in cortical features reflects pathology inherent to dyslexia or environmental influence (e.g., impoverished reading experience) remains unclear. To address this question, we compared MRI-derived metrics of cortical thickness (CT), surface area (SA), gray matter volume (GMV), and their lateralization across three different groups of children with a historical diagnosis of dyslexia, who varied in current reading level. We compared three dyslexia subgroups with: (1) persistent reading and spelling impairment; (2) remediated reading impairment (normal reading scores), and (3) remediated reading and spelling impairments (normal reading and spelling scores); and a control group of (4) typically developing children. All groups were matched for age, gender, handedness, and IQ. We hypothesized that the dyslexia group would show cortical abnormalities in regions of the reading network relative to controls, irrespective of remediation status. Such a finding would support that cortical abnormalities are inherent to dyslexia and are not a consequence of abnormal reading experience. Results revealed increased CT of the left fusiform gyrus in the dyslexia group relative to controls. Similarly, the dyslexia group showed CT increase of the right superior temporal gyrus, extending into the planum temporale, which resulted in a rightward CT asymmetry on lateralization indices. There were no group differences in SA, GMV, or their lateralization. These findings held true regardless of remediation status. Each reading level group showed the same "double hit" of atypically increased left fusiform CT and rightward superior temporal CT asymmetry. Thus, findings provide evidence that a developmental history of dyslexia is associated with CT abnormalities, independent of remediation status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical thickness
  • Dyslexia MRI
  • Gray matter volume
  • Lateralization
  • Surface area


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