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Slide Slam K13

The (not that) simple-view of reading: The neurobiology of executive-function and dyslexia

Slide Slam Session K, Thursday, October 7, 2021, 6:00 - 8:00 am PDT Log In to set Timezone

Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus1; 1Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2Educational Neuroimaging Center, Technion

Purpose: In a series of studies including neuroimaging and behavioral/cognitive measurements, we aimed to define the involvement of executive-functions in reading and reading difficulties. Rational: The Simple view of reading model suggests that reading comprehension relies on both intact language and decoding abilities. However, recent updates to the model pointed at the important contribution of executive functions to intact reading. Approximately 10-15% of children in the western world have reading difficulties (RD or dyslexia), a neurodevelopmental disorder known to impact academic achievements as well as social and emotional wellbeing. Methods: Here, we aimed to study a)the role of executive functions in reading among children with RD and b) to examine the effect of an executive-functions-based computerized reading training on neural circuits supporting reading abilities and executive-functions in these children using a multimodal approach including several MRI methodologies as well as EEG data. Results highlight the role of executive functions in reading among children with RD: decreased event-related potentials evoked from an anatomical brain region related to executive functions [i.e. the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)] and functional MRI data showed decreased functional connectivity of cognitive control networks related to this region (i.e. cingulo-opercular network). We then demonstrated the effect of this intervention on these functional connections during both reading and resting-state conditions with increased functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercualr network following intervention in these readers. Discussion: Our results are in line with the extension of the Simple View of Reading model suggested by Cutting and colleagues (2015). The role of EF in reading in general and in RD in particular as a possible “synchronizer” of reading-related systems as well as the use of possible future executive-functions-based interventions in prereaders will be discussed.

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