Levels of Key Brain Chemicals Predict Children's Reading Ability
[Source: Medical Express]
(Medical Xpress)—Reading-impaired young children have higher levels of the metabolites glutamate and choline in their brains, and these higher levels continue to be indicative of difficulties in developing typical reading and language skills, a Yale study has found. The study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Although anatomical and functional brain networks involved in reading disabilities have been well characterized, the underlying chemical bases of these differences in reading development have been poorly understood. This study is believed to be the first to examine neurochemistry in a longitudinal study of children during the critical period when they are considered “emergent readers”—the age at which neurocircuits that support skilled reading and speaking are still developing.
The Yale team measured levels of glutamate, choline, and other metabolites in 75 children, aged 6 to 10, whose reading abilities ranged from what is considered impaired to superior. The researchers conducted behavioral testing to characterize the children’s reading, language, and general cognitive skills, and used MR spectroscopy to assess metabolite levels.
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