Brain Connectomics of Visual-Motor Deficits in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

Debrabant, Julie, Vingerhoets, Guy, Van Waelvelde, Hilde, Leemans, Alexander, Taymans, Tom, Caeyenberghs, Karen


Journal of Pediatrics 169 p. 21-27e2


Objective To extend preliminary findings on associated white matter deficits and structural connectivity in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Study design Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging-based tractography was used to identify abnormal microstructural properties of specific sensorimotor white matter tracts in 21 children with DCD between 8 and 10 years of age and 20 age- and sex-matched typically developing controls. Graph theoretical analyses were applied to evaluate whole brain connectomics. Associations were also calculated between the tractography/connectome results and visual-motor performance, as measured with the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration. Results Significant positive correlations were obtained between visual-motor trace scores and fractional anisotropy (FA) in the retrolenticular limb of the internal capsule within the group with DCD. Moreover, lower FA in sensorimotor tracts and altered structural connectivity were observed for children with DCD. Compared with controls, subjects with DCD showed decreases in clustering coefficient, and global and local efficiency, suggesting weaker structural network segregation and integration. The degree of decreased global efficiency was significantly associated with poor visual-motor tracing outcomes, above and beyond FA reductions. Specifically, nodal efficiency at the cerebellar lobule VI and right parietal superior gyrus were found significant predictors to discriminate between children with DCD and those with typical development. Conclusions Specific white matter alterations and network topology features associate with visual-motor deficits and DCD diagnosis indicating the clinical potential of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging-based metrics for diagnosing DCD.