Development of white matter microstructure in relation to verbal and visuospatial working memory—a longitudinal study

Huang, H. et al. (2018) Development of white matter microstructure in relation to verbal and visuospatial working memory—a longitudinal study. PLoS ONE, 13(4), e0195540. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195540) (PMID:29689058) (PMCID:PMC5916522)

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Working memory capacity is pivotal for a broad specter of cognitive tasks and develops throughout childhood. This must in part rely on development of neural connections and white matter microstructure maturation, but there is scarce knowledge of specific relations between this and different aspects of working memory. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) enables us to study development of brain white matter microstructure. In a longitudinal DTI study of 148 healthy children between 4 and 11 years scanned twice with an on average 1.6 years interval, we characterized change in fractional anisotropy (FA), mean (MD), radial (RD) and axial diffusivity (AD) in 10 major white matter tracts hypothesized to be of importance for working memory. The results showed relationships between change in several tracts and change in visuospatial working memory. Specifically, improvement in visuospatial working memory capacity was significantly associated with decreased MD, RD and AD in inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) and uncinate fasciculus (UF) in the right hemisphere, as well as forceps major (FMaj). No significant relationships were found between change in DTI metrics and change in verbal working memory capacity. These findings yield new knowledge about brain development and corresponding working memory improvements in childhood.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The study was financed by the Norwegian Research Council (NRC), grant number 204935 to K.B.W., A.M.F. and C.K.T. K.B.W. have also received other funding from NRC and the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. K.B.W. and A.M.F. are also supported by European Research Council’s Starting Grant scheme (ERC grant agreement 313440 to K.B.W. and 283634 to A.M.F.). H.J-B. and C.S-B. are supported by the Wellcome Trust grant number WT090955AIA).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sampaio Baptista, Dr Cassandra
Creator Roles:
Sampaio-Baptista, C.Formal analysis, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Huang, H., Krogsrud, S. K., Fjell, A. M., Tamnes, C. K., Grydeland, H., Due-Tønnessen, P., Bjørnerud, A., Sampaio-Baptista, C., Andersson, J., Johansen-Berg, H., and Walhovd, K. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Krogsrud et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 13(4): e0195540
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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