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Research Articles
 
 

Reading intervention and neuroplasticity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of brain changes associated with reading intervention

Perdue, M. V., Mahaffy, K., Vlahcevic, K., Wolfman, E., Erbeli, F., Richlan, F., & Landi, N. (2021). Reading intervention and neuroplasticity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of brain changes associated with reading intervention. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 132 (2022), 465-494. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiorev.2021.11.011

Behavioral research supports the efficacy of intervention for reading disability, but the brain mechanisms underlying improvement in reading are not well understood. Here, we review 39 neuroimaging studies of reading  intervention to characterize links between reading improvement and changes in the brain. We report evidence of  changes in activation, connectivity, and structure within the reading network, and right hemisphere, frontal and  sub-cortical regions. Our meta-analysis of changes in brain activation from pre- to post- reading intervention in  eight studies did not yield any significant effects. Methodological heterogeneity among studies may contribute to  the lack of significant meta-analytic findings. Based on our qualitative synthesis, we propose that brain changes  in response to intervention should be considered in terms of interactions among distributed cognitive, linguistic  and sensory systems, rather than via a “normalized” vs. “compensatory” dichotomy. Further empirical research is  needed to identify effects of moderating factors such as features of intervention programs, neuroimaging tasks,  and individual differences among participants.  

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