How reliable are gray matter disruptions in specific reading disability across multiple countries and languages? insights from a large-scale voxel-based morphometry study

Katarzyna Jednoróg , Artur Marchewka , Irene Altarelli , Ana Karla Monzalvo Lopez , Muna Ermingen-Marbach , Marion Grande , Anna Grabowska , Stefan Heim , Franck Ramus


The neural basis of specific reading disability (SRD) remains only partly understood. A dozen studies have used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to investigate gray matter volume (GMV) differences between SRD and control children, however, recent meta-analyses suggest that few regions are consistent across studies. We used data collected across three countries (France, Poland, and Germany) with the aim of both increasing sample size (236 SRD and controls) to obtain a clearer picture of group differences, and of further assessing the consistency of the findings across languages. VBM analysis reveals a significant group difference in a single cluster in the left thalamus. Furthermore, we observe correlations between reading accuracy and GMV in the left supramarginal gyrus and in the left cerebellum, in controls only. Most strikingly, we fail to replicate all the group differences in GMV reported in previous studies, despite the superior statistical power. The main limitation of this study is the heterogeneity of the sample drawn from different countries (i.e., speaking languages with varying orthographic transparencies) and selected based on different assessment batteries. Nevertheless, analyses within each country support the conclusions of the cross-linguistic analysis. Explanations for the discrepancy between the present and previous studies may include: (1) the limited suitability of VBM to reveal the subtle brain disruptions underlying SRD; (2) insufficient correction for multiple statistical tests and flexibility in data analysis, and (3) publication bias in favor of positive results. Thus the study echoes widespread concerns about the risk of false-positive results inherent to small-scale VBM studies. Hum Brain Mapp 36:1741–1754, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Author Katarzyna Jednoróg
Katarzyna Jednoróg,,
, Artur Marchewka
Artur Marchewka,,
, Irene Altarelli
Irene Altarelli,,
, Ana Karla Monzalvo Lopez
Ana Karla Monzalvo Lopez,,
, Muna Ermingen-Marbach
Muna Ermingen-Marbach,,
, Marion Grande
Marion Grande,,
, Anna Grabowska (Wydział Psychologii)
Anna Grabowska,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Stefan Heim
Stefan Heim,,
, Franck Ramus
Franck Ramus,,
Journal seriesHuman Brain Mapping, ISSN 1065-9471, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2015
Publication size in sheets0.65
Keywords in Englishvoxel-based morphometry, reading impairment, multisite study, magnetic resonance imaging, gray matter volume
ASJC Classification2728 Clinical Neurology; 2808 Neurology; 2741 Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging; 3614 Radiological and Ultrasound Technology; 2702 Anatomy
Languageen angielski
How Reliable are Gray Matter Disruptions in Specific Reading Disability Across Multiple.pdf 505.7 KB
Additional file
BROWN_IR-ADV5255_16_0106_001-29.pdf 23.59 KB
Score (nominal)45
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2015 = 1.442; WoS Impact Factor: 2015 = 4.962 (2) - 2015=5.638 (5)
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