Activities and Seminars

Fumiko Hoeft. Intergenerational Imaging of Reading Networks.
Date: Sep 29, 2014

What: Intergenerational Imaging of Reading Networks

Where: BCBL auditorium

Who: Fumiko Hoeft MD PhD - Associate Professor & Director of LENS, UCSF; Research Scientist, Haskins Labs.

When: 12 noon

Parents have large influence on offspring’s brain and cognitive development that ranges from genetic, to pre-, peri- and post-natal environmental influences. We have previously shown that not only children’s behavioral and neuroimaging patterns predict reading outcome, dyslexics’ ability to compensate and preliterate children’s ability to acquire reading (Hoeft et al. Beh Neurosci ’07, Hoeft et al. PNAS ’11, Myers et al. Psychol Sci ’14), but that family history plays a large role in the preliterate to literate brains and behavior (Black et al. NeuroImage ’12, Hosseini et al. NeuroImage ’13, Myers et al. Psychol Sci ’14). Virtually unknown are whether there are brain networks that show sex-specific transmission patterns and patterns consistent with the multiple deficit model (a hypothesis that both parents confer risk). Such research could provide critical information about the neurobiological mechanism underlying literacy and dyslexia.

We therefore examined parental neuroimaging patterns that predict child’s reading-related imaging patterns and behavior. We first establish the feasibility of this novel approach, intergenerational imaging, by confirming maternal transmission patterns in the cortico-limbic system that is well established in gene expression studies in animals and human behavioral research in mood disorders (Yamagata et al. under review). We then interrogate brain regions that are considered causally related to dyslexia, i.e., the left temporo-parietal and occipito-temporal regions (Hoeft et al. J Neurosci ’06, Hoeft et al. PNAS ’07, Tanaka et al. Psychol Sci ’11), and show strong maternal transmission patterns to male offspring, especially within the left occipito-temporal regions (Wang et al. under prep). We discuss preliminary findings in light of historical etiological theories of dyslexia (e.g. testosterone theory). We also touch on our new research program that will allow us to dissociate prenatal influence from genetic and postnatal influence, which has not feasible in humans, but is critically important in dissecting the neurobiological mechanisms underlying reading and dyslexia.