No evidence for systematic white matter correlates of dyslexia and dyscalculia

David Moreau, Anna J. Wilson, Nicole S. McKay, Kasey Nihill, Karen E. Waldie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and their comorbid manifestation are prevalent, affecting as much as 15% of the population. Structural neuroimaging studies have indicated that these disorders can be related to differences in white matter integrity, although findings remain disparate. In this study, we used a unique design composed of individuals with dyslexia, dyscalculia, both disorders and controls, to systematically explore differences in fractional anisotropy across groups using diffusion tensor imaging. Specifically, we focused on the corona radiata and the arcuate fasciculus, two tracts associated with reading and mathematics in a number of previous studies. Using Bayesian hypothesis testing, we show that the present data favor the null model of no differences between groups for these particular tracts—a finding that seems to go against the current view but might be representative of the disparities within this field of research. Together, these findings suggest that structural differences associated with dyslexia and dyscalculia might not be as reliable as previously thought, with potential ramifications in terms of remediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-366
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2018


  • Axonal white matter
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyslexia
  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Probabilistic tractography
  • Tract-based spatial statistics


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