Cognitive tutoring induces widespread neuroplasticity and remediates brain function in children with mathematical learning disabilities.

TitleCognitive tutoring induces widespread neuroplasticity and remediates brain function in children with mathematical learning disabilities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsIuculano, T, Rosenberg-Lee, M, Richardson, J, Tenison, C, Fuchs, L, Supekar, K, Menon, V
JournalNat Commun
Volume6
Pagination8453
Date Published2015 Sep 30
ISSN2041-1723
KeywordsBrain, Child, Cognition, Female, Humans, Learning, Learning Disorders, Male, Mathematics, Neuronal Plasticity, Problem Solving
Abstract

Competency with numbers is essential in today's society; yet, up to 20% of children exhibit moderate to severe mathematical learning disabilities (MLD). Behavioural intervention can be effective, but the neurobiological mechanisms underlying successful intervention are unknown. Here we demonstrate that eight weeks of 1:1 cognitive tutoring not only remediates poor performance in children with MLD, but also induces widespread changes in brain activity. Neuroplasticity manifests as normalization of aberrant functional responses in a distributed network of parietal, prefrontal and ventral temporal-occipital areas that support successful numerical problem solving, and is correlated with performance gains. Remarkably, machine learning algorithms show that brain activity patterns in children with MLD are significantly discriminable from neurotypical peers before, but not after, tutoring, suggesting that behavioural gains are not due to compensatory mechanisms. Our study identifies functional brain mechanisms underlying effective intervention in children with MLD and provides novel metrics for assessing response to intervention.

DOI10.1038/ncomms9453
Alternate JournalNat Commun
PubMed ID26419418
PubMed Central IDPMC4598717
Grant ListK01 MH101394 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
HD053714 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD057610 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD047520 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD057610 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD059205 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD047520 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
MH101394 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD059205 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD053714 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States

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