Reading related white matter structures in adolescents are influenced more by dysregulation of emotion than behavior

Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, Scott K. Holland, Amelia L. Versace, Michele A. Bertocci, Genna Bebko, Jorge R.C. Almeida, Susan B. Perlman, Michael J. Travis, Mary Kay Gill, Lisa Bonar, Claudiu Schirda, Jeffrey L. Sunshine, Boris Birmaher, Gerry Taylor, Vaibhav A. Diwadkar, Sarah M. Horwitz, David Axelson, Thomas Frazier, Eugene L. Arnold, Mary A. FristadEric A. Youngstrom, Robert L. Findling, Mary L. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mood disorders and behavioral are broad psychiatric diagnostic categories that have different symptoms and neurobiological mechanisms, but share some neurocognitive similarities, one of which is an elevated risk for reading deficit. Our aim was to determine the influence of mood versus behavioral dysregulation on reading ability and neural correlates supporting these skills in youth, using diffusion tensor imaging in 11- to 17-year-old children and youths with mood disorders or behavioral disorders and age-matched healthy controls. The three groups differed only in phonological processing and passage comprehension. Youth with mood disorders scored higher on the phonological test but had lower comprehension scores than children with behavioral disorders and controls; control participants scored the highest. Correlations between fractional anisotropy and phonological processing in the left Arcuate Fasciculus showed a significant difference between groups and were strongest in behavioral disorders, intermediate in mood disorders, and lowest in controls. Correlations between these measures in the left Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus were significantly greater than in controls for mood but not for behavioral disorders. Youth with mood disorders share a deficit in the executive-limbic pathway (Arcuate Fasciculus) with behavioral-disordered youth, suggesting reduced capacity for engaging frontal regions for phonological processing or passage comprehension tasks and increased reliance on the ventral tract (e.g., the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus). The low passage comprehension scores in mood disorder may result from engaging the left hemisphere. Neural pathways for reading differ mainly in executive-limbic circuitry. This new insight may aid clinicians in providing appropriate intervention for each disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-740
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2017


  • Behavioral disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Passage comprehension
  • Phonological processing
  • Reading
  • White matter tracts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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