Skip to main content

Monitoring White Matter in the Brain Key to Predicting Learning Abilities, Study Finds

By ActiveBeat Author

How can we predict that a children will develop a learning disability? A new study suggests using brain scans to monitor the growth of white matter in the brain can help identify potential learning issues early on.

Recently, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) examined 38 kindergarten students. As the children began learning to read, the researchers carried out brain scans which showed the development of each child’s white matter, the part of the brain critical to perceiving, thinking, and learning. The researchers then monitored how this white mattered changed over time.

Monitoring this development of white matter helped researchers identify differences between students who struggled with reading and learning and those who did not. It’s a discovery that has led Chelsea Myers, the study’s lead researcher, to suggest that experts focus more attention on monitoring the development of white matter in young learners.

“Examining developmental changes in the brain over a critical period of reading appears to be a unique sensitive measure of variation and may add insight to our understanding of reading development in ways that brain data from one time point, and behavioral and environmental measures, cannot,” Myers said.

“The hope is that understanding each child’s neurocognitive profiles will help educators provide targeted and personalized education and intervention, particularly in those with special needs.”

Myers and colleague Fumiko Hoeft note in their report — which was recently published by Psychological Science — that the finding could help in the early identification of dyslexia and other neurodevelopmental disorders. “Accumulation of research evidence such as ours may one day help us identify kids who might be at risk for dyslexia, rather than waiting for children to become poor readers and experience failure,” Hoeft added.

ActiveBeat Author

Contributor

Activebeat is dedicated to bringing readers all of the important news and information in the world of health. From recalls and outbreaks to fitness, nutrition and studies, we cover every aspect of health news, every day.

Trending Health News

Explore

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?
By Katherine George Your Health

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

EMDR is a fairly new and nontradiational type of psychotherapy. It has become increasingly popular for treating PTSD. To learn more about it, here’s a look into what it is, how it works, if it’s effective, and the potential risks and benefits…

Read More about What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

7 min read

Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why
By Estelamari Rodriguez Your Health

Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why

When many people think of an average lung cancer patient, they often imagine an older man smoking. But the face of lung cancer has changed. Over the past 15 years, more women, never smokers and younger people are being diagnosed with lung cancer. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among […]

Read More about Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why

4 min read

Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline
By Sara N. Burke Your Health

Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline

Scientists have known for years that unhealthy diets – particularly those that are high in fat and sugar – may cause detrimental changes to the brain and lead to cognitive impairment. Many factors that contribute to cognitive decline are out of a person’s control, such as genetics and socioeconomic factors. But ongoing research increasingly indicates […]

Read More about Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline

5 min read