Evidence of slow maturation of the superior longitudinal fasciculus in early childhood by diffusion tensor imaging.

Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA, and Diagnostic Radiology Unit, Saint-Luc University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.25). 12/2007; 38(2):239-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.07.033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While the majority of axonal organization is established by birth in mammalian brains, axonal wiring and pruning processes, as well as myelination, are known to extend to the postnatal periods, where environmental stimuli often play a major role. Normal axonal and myelin development of individual white matter tracts of human in this period is poorly understood and may have a major role in cognitive development of human. In this study, we applied diffusion tensor imaging and normalization-based population analyses to 44 preteen children and 30 adult images. We observed highly significant changes of fiber orientations at regions that correspond to the superior longitudinal fasciculus during the first 5 years. The result is attributed to slow axonal and/or myelin maturation of this tract, which is believed to be involved in language functions.

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