Functional disruption of the brain mechanism for reading: Effects of comorbidity and task difficulty among children with developmental learning problems


Objective: The study investigated the relative degree and timing of cortical activation associated with phonological decoding in poor readers. Method: Regional brain activity was assessed during performance of a pseudoword reading task and a less demanding, letter-sound naming task by three groups of students: children who experienced reading difficulties without attention problems (N = 50, RD) and nonreading impaired (NI) readers either with (N = 20) or without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; N = 50). Recordings were obtained with a whole-head neuromagnetometer, and activation profiles were computed through a minimum norm algorithm. Results: Children with RD showed decreased amplitude of neurophysiological activity in the superior temporal gyrus, bilaterally, and in the left supramarginal and angular gyri during late stages of decoding, compared to typical readers. These effects were restricted to the more demanding pseudoword reading task. No differences were found in degree of activity between NI and ADHD students. Regression analyses provided further support for the crucial role of left hemisphere temporoparietal cortices and the fusiform gyrus for basic reading skills. Conclusions: Results were in agreement with fMRI findings and replicate previous MEG findings with a larger sample, a higher density neuromagnetometer, an overt pseudoword reading task, and a distributed current source-modeling method.



Phonological decoding, Dyslexia, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Magnetoencephalography, Functional brain imaging


Copyright 2011 Neuropsychology. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Simos, Panagiotis G., Roozbeh Rezaie, Jack M. Fletcher, Jenifer Juranek, Antony D. Passaro, Zhimin Li, Paul T. Cirino, and Andrew C. Papanicolaou. "Functional Disruption of the Brain Mechanism for Reading: Effects of Comorbidity and Task Difficulty Among Children With Developmental Learning Problems." Neuropsychology 25, no. 4 (2011): 520-534. doi: 10.1037/a0022550. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author's permission.