Lindsay Walker1, Irene Piryatinsky1, Jonathan OMuircheartaigh2, Douglas C. Dean III1, Michelle Han1, Katie Lehman1, Nicole Waskiewicz1, Beth A. Jerskey1, 3, Holly Dirks1, Sean C. L. Deoni1
1Advanced Baby Imaging Lab, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States; 2King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom; 3Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States
Delayed language acquisition in infants is an early clinical indicator of later language impairment. This delay may result from delayed or abnormal myelination in the language sub-serving brain networks. We measured myelin content using the mcDESPOT technique, and assessed language with the MacArthur-Bates Child Development Inventory Words and Gestures parent report in 9 toddlers aged 10-16 months. We found that language understanding was correlated with myelination in brain regions responsible for general understanding and learning; while language production was more specifically linked to Brocas area. These results indicate that myelination may be implicated in language acquisition during key developmental stages.