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Previous studies of white matter organization in sensorimotor tracts in developmental coordination disorder (DCD) have adopted diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a method unable to reconcile pathways with ‘crossing fibres’. In response to limitations of the commonly adopted DTI approach, the present study employed a framework that can reconcile the ‘crossing fibre’ problem (i.e., constrained spherical deconvolution- CSD) to characterize white matter tissue organization of sensorimotor tracts in young adults with DCD. Participants were 19 healthy adults aged 18–46: 7 met diagnostic criteria for DCD (4 females) and 12 were controls (3 females). All underwent high angular diffusion MRI. After preprocessing, the left and right corticospinal tracts (CST) and superior longitudinal fasciculi (SLF) were delineated and all tracts were then generated using both CSD and DTI tractography respectively. Based on the CSD model, individuals with DCD demonstrated significantly decreased mean apparent fibre density (AFD) in the left SLF relative to controls (with large effect size, Cohen's d = 1.32) and a trend for decreased tract volume of the right SLF (with medium-large effect size, Cohen's d = 0.73). No differences in SLF microstructure were found between groups using DTI, nor were differences in CST microstructure observed across groups regardless of hemisphere or diffusion model. Our data are consistent with the view that motor impairment characteristic of DCD may be subserved by white matter abnormalities in sensorimotor tracts, specifically the left and right SLF. Our data further highlight the benefits of higher order diffusion MRI (e.g. CSD) relative to DTI for clarifying earlier inconsistencies in reports speaking to white matter organization in DCD, and its contribution to poor motor skill in DCD.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.