Relation Between Reading Performance and White-Matter Alteration and Reorganization in Neurosurgical Patients

Elisa Cargnelutti, Marta Maieron, Tamara Ius, Miran Skrap, Barbara Tomasino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reading abilities and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters were retrospectively analyzed in a group of neurosurgical patients to investigate (Study 1) the role of white matter—in particular the arcuate fasciculus (AF)—in preserved vs. impaired reading; 4 months after surgery, we explored the plasticity processes (Study 2). Study 1 involved 40 patients with brain glioma (23 low-grade and 17 high-grade gliomas). We compared preoperative DTI parameters of language-related fascicles between patients who developed a reading impairment after surgery (n = 23) and patients with preserved reading (n = 17). Besides lower fractional anisotropy (FA), patients with impaired reading also displayed lower number and density of streamlines of a direct (i.e., directly connecting temporal and frontal lobes) AF segment. In Study 2, we longitudinally tested at follow-up-when reading performance had generally improved-13 patients diagnosed with low-grade glioma. The most relevant finding was a significant increase in length of streamlines of the direct AF segments in both hemispheres. From a neurosurgical perspective, our preliminary findings suggest the clinical importance of sparing direct AF segments for the involvement they showed in reading; however, the results also suggest the reorganization potential of these segments, possibly compensating of the right homologs as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number563259
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 14 2020


  • diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • direct arcuate fasciculus
  • functional recovery
  • neurosurgical patients
  • plasticity
  • reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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