Brain morphology in normal and dyslexic children: The influence of sex and age



Morphometric magnetic resonance imaging techniques were used to compare the convolutional surface area of the planum temporale, temporal lobe volume and superior surface area, and an estimate of overall brain volume in a homogeneous sample of 17 dyslexic children (7 girls) and 14 nonimpaired children (7 girls). Substantial sex differences were apparent for all measured regions, with all the measurements in boys being significantly larger. Age, even within the narrow range employed here (7.5–9.7 years), was positively correlated with the size of each brain region. While initial analyses suggested smaller left hemisphere structures in dyslexics compared to control subjects, subsequent analyses controlling for age and overall brain size revealed no significant differences between dyslexics and nonimpaired children on a variety of measures, in particular surface area and symmetry of the planum temporale. We suggest that differences in subject characteristics (i.e., sex, age, handedness, and definition of dyslexia) as well as procedural variations in the methods used to acquire images and to define and measure anatomical regions of interest such as the planum temporale all may play an important role in explaining apparent discrepant results in the neuroimaging literature on dyslexia.