Brain networks for inhibition control in early childhood: Link between reading ability and executive function

Brain networks for inhibition control in early childhood: Link between reading ability and executive function

First Author: AVANTIKA MATHUR -- UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKSA, LINCOLN
Additional authors/chairs: 
Makayla Gill; Ceceli Bonitto; Yingying Wang
Keywords: early childhood (age 4 - 6), Reading Ability, Executive Functioning, Inhibitory Control, functional MRI
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
Executive functioning (EF) refers to a set of processes involved in the regulation of one’s self in order to achieve a goal. Inhibition control (IC), as a subdomain of EF, can impact different aspects of learning to read, such as letter/word identification and reading fluency. This study aims to identify the brain networks related to IC and its relationship to pre-reading skills in typically developing young children.
Method
Twenty-four typically developing children underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans (age 4:6-7:9, IQ avg:110.54, Stdev:12.16) and performed a Go-NoGo task. We performed whole-brain connectivity analysis using 246 regions of interest from the Brainnetomme atlas to identify brain networks related to IC during early childhood. We further computed the brain-behavior correlation to determine the relationship between the neural networks and pre-reading skills assessed using WRMT-III.
Results
The connectivity analysis results revealed that response inhibition is associated with higher inter-regional connectivity in bilateral frontotemporal, occipitotemporal regions, and within temporal cortex sub-regions. We also observed significant connectivity of cortical regions with subcortical structures, specifically of left fusiform gyrus with left basal ganglia and right insular gyrus with right parietal and occipital cortex for response inhibition. Furthermore, we obtained a significant correlation between reading ability measures and connectivity of right subcortical regions (hippocampus, basal ganglia, and thalamus) with bilateral frontal-temporoparietal regions.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that children with better reading ability presented higher connection strength amongst the neural pathways associated with IC. Our study provides evidence on the positive impact of IC on reading abilities during early childhood.