Growing evidence from multimodal brain-imaging studies highlights the importance of a synergistic approach toward characterizing the neurobiological substrate of reading disability (RD). The overall goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive neurobiological model of text comprehension that will supplement the cognitive framework developed within the Executive Functions project. In addition, we propose to evaluate features of brain organization associated with developmental outcomes of educational interventions addressed in our Intervention project.
This project will address the following three aims:
We will characterize features of brain organization that support sentence comprehension, using a multiple-task and multimodal imaging approach (fMRI, quantitative structural MRI, and DTI) to identify neural components of reading comprehension that are print dependent (associated with sentence reading and word recognition) and print independent (associated with executive functions) in nonimpaired readers and in students experiencing text comprehension difficulties.
We will examine the predictive value of preintervention multimodal imaging data for subsequent response to intervention. We will model individual response to educational interventions (provided in the current Intervention project) as a function of aberrant features of (a) the brain organization for comprehension in RD, (b) imaging sentence reading and response inhibition, and (c) functional connectivity.
We will investigate functional changes in brain organization after educational interventions by focusing on adequate and inadequate responders in conjunction with the current Classification and Integration project, using data collected for aims 1 and 2. We will evaluate alternative models of functional brain plasticity in association with successful response to intervention (i.e., “normalization” vs. “compensation”).
By successfully addressing these aims, this project will promote novel directions in cognitive neuroscience research that features combinations of several multimodal imaging methods to identify features of brain organization that are crucial for typical development of reading comprehension skills and successful intervention outcomes.
Although much attention has been devoted to neural processes underlying word reading, less is known about the neural correlates of reading comprehension, especially in relation to instructional response and executive functions. Multimodal imaging promises a more comprehensive understanding of the brain mechanisms associated with adequate and inadequate instructional response and the neural correlates of reading comprehension in typically developing and struggling readers.
Elementary and middle schools in the Houston and Austin areas
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Simos, P., Rezaie, R., Fletcher, J., Juranek, J., Passaro, A., & Papanicolaou, A.C. (2011). Functional disruption of the brain mechanism for reading: Effects of comorbidity and task difficulty among children with developmental learning problems. Neuropsychology, 24, 520-534. PMCID: PMC3192455
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