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Poster C20, Thursday, November 9, 10:00 – 11:15 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Development of the lateral lemniscus and its relation to receptive vocabulary: A diffusion-weighted imaging study

Anthony Dick1, Dea Garic1, Heidy Zetina1;1Florida International University

The lateral lemniscus (LL) is a bilateral fiber pathway comprised of the axonal projections from the superior olivary complex to the inferior colliculus (Naidich et al., 2009). It is thus the major conduit for the transmission of auditory perceptual information in the brainstem. Although the pathway is an important component of this early auditory system, its development has not been investigated using modern diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) techniques. Our study aims to be the first, to our knowledge, to track the LL in vivo and to explore potential behavioral associations in a sample of typically developing invdividuals. In this study, we examined the LL in 129 participants (70 females, age = 0-18 years, M= 8.67 years) using DWI. Bilateral ROIs where manually drawn in the midbrain using the superior cerebral peduncle as an anatomical landmark. Tracking was successful in 94 participants. Fractional anisotropy (FA) increased linearly in the LL from infancy to late adolescence, which is consistent with extended development of the auditory system more broadly (Litovsky, 2015; t(90) = 7.21, p < .001; controlling for age, whole brain FA, and gender). We also assessed the LL’s relation to vocabulary development. We found that axial diffusivity (AD) of the LL is associated with improved Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) scores (t(77) = 2.21, p < .05, controlling for age, gender, and wholebrain AD). This study provides preliminary evidence of the development and behavioral associations of the LL. Successful tracking of this pathway is potentially important in the clinical treatment of auditory disorders in children.

Topic Area: Language Development

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