Language exposure and brain myelination in early development

Fibla, Laia, Forbes, Samuel H., McCarthy, Jordan, Mee, Kate, Magnotta, Vincent, Deoni, Sean, Cameron, Donnie ORCID: and Spencer, John P. ORCID: (2023) Language exposure and brain myelination in early development. Journal of Neuroscience, 43 (23). pp. 4279-4290. ISSN 0270-6474

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The language environment to which children are exposed has an impact on later language abilities as well as on brain development; however, it is unclear how early such impacts emerge. This study investigates the effects of children’s early language environment and socioeconomic status (SES) on brain structure in infancy at 6 and 30 months of age (both sexes included). We used magnetic resonance imaging to quantify concentrations of myelin in specific fiber tracts in the brain. Our central question was whether Language Environment Analysis (LENA) measures from in-home recording devices and SES measures of maternal education predicted myelin concentrations over the course of development. Results indicate that 30-month-old children exposed to larger amounts of in-home adult input showed more myelination in the white matter tracts most associated with language. Right hemisphere regions also show an association with SES, with older children from more highly educated mothers and exposed to more adult input, showing greater myelin concentrations in language-related areas. We discuss these results in relation to the current literature and implications for future research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work supported by R01HD083287 from the National Institutes of Health award to JP Spencer as well as by NIH grants R01MH111578 and P50HD103556 to VAM
Uncontrolled Keywords: lena,mri,ses,brain development,language input,neuroscience(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2800
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Population Health
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2023 09:40
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2023 03:34
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1034-22.2023


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