Sensory processing disorders (SPD) affect 5-16% of school-aged children and can cause long-term deficits in intellectual and social development. Current theories of SPD implicate primary sensory cortical areas and higher-order multisensory integration (MSI) cortical regions. We investigate the role of white matter microstructural abnormalities in SPD using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTI was acquired in 16 boys, 8-11 years old, with SPD and 24 age-, gender-, handedness- and IQ-matched neurotypical controls. Behavior was characterized using a parent report sensory behavior measure, the Sensory Profile. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD) and radial diffusivity (RD) were calculated. Tract-based spatial statistics were used to detect significant group differences in white matter integrity and to determine if microstructural parameters were significantly correlated with behavioral measures. Significant decreases in FA and increases in MD and RD were found in the SPD cohort compared to controls, primarily involving posterior white matter including the posterior corpus callosum, posterior corona radiata and posterior thalamic radiations. Strong positive correlations were observed between FA of these posterior tracts and auditory, multisensory, and inattention scores (r=0.51-0.78; p<0.001) with strong negative correlations between RD and multisensory and inattention scores (r=0.61-0.71; p<0.001). To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate reduced white matter microstructural integrity in children with SPD. We find that the disrupted white matter microstructure predominantly involves posterior cerebral tracts and correlates strongly with atypical unimodal and multisensory integration behavior. These findings suggest abnormal white matter as a biological basis for SPD and may also distinguish SPD from overlapping clinical conditions such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Related Content
White matter correlates of sensory processing in autism spectrum disorders
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been characterized by atypical socio-communicative behavior, sensorimotor impairment and abnormal neurodevelopmental trajectories. DTI has been used to determine the presence and nature of abnormality in white matter integrity that may contribute to the behavior...


White Matter Microstructure Correlates of Narrative Production in Typically Developing Children and Children with High Functioning Autism
This study investigated the relationship between white matter microstructure and the development of morphosyntax in a spoken narrative in typically developing children (TD) and in children with high functioning autism (HFA). Autism is characterized by language and communication impairments, yet t...
A Systematic Review of Diffusion Weighted MRI Studies of White Matter Microstructure in Adolescent Substance Users
Recent studies using diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) have provided evidence of abnormal white matter microstructure in adults with substance use disorders (SUDs). While there is a growing body of research using DW-MRI to examine the impact of heavy substance use during adol...


Abnormal white matter on diffusion tensor imaging in children with new-onset seizures
The aim of this study was to use whole brain quantitative analysis to identify impaired white matter (WM) integrity using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in children with new-onset seizures. Thirty-five children with new-onset seizures and normal MRI were recruited. Twelve patients had generalized...
The dementia and disability project in Thai elderly: rational, design, methodology and early results
A strong inverse rate of illness, functional limitation, and socioeconomic status has been established in western ageing society. Functional limitation can be related to chronic diseases, disuse, cognitive decline, and ageing. Among chronic diseases in Thai population, cerebrovascular diseases, d...

The structural connectome of the human brain in agenesis of the corpus callosum
Adopting a network perspective, the structural connectome reveals the large-scale white matter connectivity of the human brain, yielding insights into cerebral organization otherwise inaccessible to researchers and clinicians. Connectomics has great potential for elucidating abnormal connectivity...
Microstructural Abnormalities in Language and Limbic Pathways in Orphanage-Reared Children: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study
This study utilized diffusion tensor imaging fiber tractography to examine the miscrostructural integrity of limbic and paralimbic white matter tracts in 36 children (age M = 124 months) with histories of early deprivation, raised from birth in orphanages and subsequently adopted into the United ...

FMRI investigation of visual change detection in adults with autism
People with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may show unusual reactions to unexpected changes that appear in their environment. Although several studies have highlighted atypical auditory change processing in ASD, little is known in this disorder about the brain processes involved in visual automa...
Aberrant error processing in relation to symptom severity in obsessive–compulsive disorder: A multimodal neuroimaging study
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by maladaptive repetitive behaviors that persist despite feedback. Using multimodal neuroimaging, we tested the hypothesis that this behavioral rigidity reflects impaired use of behavioral outcomes (here, errors) to adaptively adjust response...

Conséquences familiales du diagnostic de FXTAS : le conseil génétique aux apparentés à risque
Le Fragile X associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS) est lié aux prémutations du gène FMR1 alors que les mutations complètes du même gène sont responsables du syndrome de l’X fragile. Un patient de 47ans consulta pour une symptomatologie évoluant depuis plusieurs mois et associant des...