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Publications in NeuroImage by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

August 1, 2011

Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a specific learning disability that affects the acquisition of mathematical skills in children with normal intelligence and age-appropriate school education (prevalence 3-6%). One essential step in the development of mathematical understanding is the formation and automated access to a spatial representation of numbers. Many children with DD show a deficient development of such a mental number line. The present study aimed to develop a computer-based training program to improve the construction and access to the mental number line.Sixteen children with DD aged 8-10. years and 16 matched control children completed the 5-week computer training. All children played the game 15. min a day for 5. days a week. The efficiency of the training was evaluated by means of neuropsychological tests and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a number line task.In general, children with and without DD showed a benefit from the training indicated by (a) improved spatial representation of numbers and (b) the number of correctly solved arithmetical problems.Regarding group differences in brain activation, children with DD showed less activation in bilateral parietal regions, which reflects neuronal dysfunction in pivotal regions for number processing. Both groups showed reduced recruitment of relevant brain regions for number processing after the training which can be attributed to automatization of cognitive processes necessary for mathematical reasoning. Moreover, results point to a partial remediation of deficient brain activation in dyscalculics after consolidation of acquired and refined number representation.To conclude, the present study represents the first attempt to evaluate a custom-designed training program in a group of dyscalculic children and results indicate that the training leads to an improved spatial representation of the mental number line and a modulation of neural activation, which both facilitate processing of numerical tasks. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery