In vivo brain development of four fetuses from 24 to 32 weeks gestational age (GA) were compared. One fetus had a positive history of familial language impairment (+FLI) and three had negative histories of FLI (-FLI). All fetuses were boys and their mothers had low risk pregnancies. RHR-HD ultrasonographic imaging was used to collect data at 24, 28 and 32 weeks GA. Volumes and growth rates for the left and right cerebral hemispheres and five subdivisions within each hemisphere were computed and compared. Results indicated that total brain volumes for all fetuses were within normal limits, but that patterns of growth among subdivisions of the inferior anterior and inferior medial regions of the hemispheres differed from 24 to 28 weeks GA. Limited growth was observed in the +FLI fetus compared with the -FLI fetuses in these regions of the left hemisphere during this period. Growth throughout development was more symmetrical between hemispheres for the -FLI fetuses. Results are consistent with hypotheses that +FLI fetuses experience an intrauterine environment that results in developmental differences among brain regions frequently associated with language performance. These results suggest that +FLI may involve genetic developmental timing code differences that place children at risk for later language learning problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Linguistics and Language
- Cognitive Neuroscience