Treatment studies have shown pre to post changes in reading circuits with evidence based remediation of reading disability, establishing the neural signature of successful treatment outcome. However, insight into the neurobiological mechanisms by which treatment produces these consequences/outcome requires monitoring modulations of key brain regions throughout the course of treatment and such data are lacking.
In the current research, we are following children with reading difficulties in 2nd Grade through an evidence-based training program. Cognitive testing and functional MRI scanning before and after the intervention at the University of Connecticut Brain Imaging Center (UConn BIRC) with comparisons to untreated RD and TD control groups will allow for the identification of key neurocognitive factors associated with response to treatment. We will also obtain nine recordings of brain activity at Haskins Laboratories using functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging throughout 20 weeks of instruction to identify how online modulation of circuits during treatment relates to weekly measures of reading performance – growth spurts (or regressions) over the course of treatment. This dynamic tracking study will yield new insights into how evidence-based training modulates brain organization for learning to support reading gains and why it fails to do so for some children. This is an NIH funded project under the direction of PI Dr. Ken Pugh of UConn & Haskins Laboratories.
We are looking for assistance running the functional MRI scans at the UConn BIRC. This is an excellent opportunity for those looking to gain hands on experience working with clinical populations and cutting-edge neuroimaging techniques. In addition to administering the fMRI task paradigms, we are looking for people who are comfortable working with children and interacting with families. Available hours must be flexible with most scans likely to be during the early evening hours or weekends. If you are interested, please contact Devin Kearns <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Steve Frost <email@example.com>.