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Bob Dougherty; The development of visual pathways for reading. Journal of Vision 2006;6(13):31. doi: 10.1167/6.13.31.
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Proficient reading is an essential skill typically acquired at a young age. It represents an important assay of healthy sensory, motor and cognitive development. I will describe cross-sectional and longitudinal measurements in 7–12 year-old children of functional and anatomical development in the visual pathways essential for reading. We have found several functional and anatomical measures that are correlated with the development of reading and phonological awareness skills, including: 1. fMRI word visibility responsivity to an incidental reading task in ventral occipito-temporal cortex, 2. fMRI contrast responsivity in human MT+ to drifting gratings, and 3. diffusion tensor imaging measurements of fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity in several regions within the white matter, including the splenium of the corpus callosum. These functional and anatomical results implicate a network of visual regions important for skilled reading and are clinically relevant to understanding healthy reading development and identifying reading disabilities.
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