Early language delay has often been associated with atypical language/literacy development. Neuroimaging studies further indicate functional disruptions during language and print processing in school-age children with a retrospective report of early language delay. Behavioral data of 114 5-year-olds with a retrospective report of early language delay in infancy (N = 34) and those without (N = 80) and with a familial risk for dyslexia and those without are presented. Behaviorally, children with a retrospective report of early language delay exhibited reduced performance in language/reading-related measures. A voxel-based morphometry analysis in a subset (N = 46) demonstrated an association between reduced gray matter volume and early language delay in left-hemispheric middle temporal, occipital, and frontal regions. Alterations in middle temporal cortex in children with a retrospective report of early language delay were observed regardless of familial risk for dyslexia. Additionally, while children with isolated familial risk for dyslexia showed gray matter reductions in temporoparietal and occipitotemporal regions, these effects were most profound in children with both risk factors. An interaction effect of early language delay and familial risk was revealed in temporoparietal, occipital, and frontal cortex. Our findings support a cumulative effect of early behavioral and genetic risk factors on brain development and may ultimately inform diagnosis/treatment.
1Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience, Division of Developmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
2Harvard Medical School Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel,Basel, Switzerland
4Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
- Address correspondence to Nora Maria Raschle, Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience, Division of Developmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, 1 Autumn Street, Mailbox # 713, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org