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The developmental absence (agenesis) of the corpus callosum (AgCC) is a congenital brain malformation associated with risk for a range of neuropsychological difficulties. Inhibitory control outcomes, including interference control and response inhibition, in children with AgCC are unclear. This study examined interference control and response inhibition: 1) in children with AgCC compared with typically developing (TD) children, 2) in children with different anatomical features of AgCC (complete vs. partial, isolated vs. complex), and 3) associations with white matter volume and microstructure of the anterior (AC) and posterior commissures (PC) and any remnant corpus callosum (CC).
Participants were 27 children with AgCC and 32 TD children 8–16 years who completed inhibitory control assessments and brain MRI to define AgCC anatomical features and measure white matter volume and microstructure.
The AgCC cohort had poorer performance and higher rates of below average performance on inhibitory control measures than TD children. Children with complex AgCC had poorer response inhibition performance than children with isolated AgCC. While not statistically significant, there were select medium to large effect sizes for better inhibitory control associated with greater volume and microstructure of the AC and PC, and with reduced volume and microstructure of the remnant CC in partial AgCC.
This study provides evidence of inhibitory control difficulties in children with AgCC. While the sample was small, the study found preliminary evidence that the AC (f2=.18) and PC (f2=.30) may play a compensatory role for inhibitory control outcomes in the absence of the CC.
Objectives: Agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC), characterized by developmental absence of the corpus callosum, is one of the most common congenital brain malformations. To date, there are limited data on the neuropsychological consequences of AgCC and factors that modulate different outcomes, especially in children. This study aimed to describe general intellectual, academic, executive, social and behavioral functioning in a cohort of school-aged children presenting for clinical services to a hospital and diagnosed with AgCC. The influences of age, social risk and neurological factors were examined. Methods: Twenty-eight school-aged children (8 to 17 years) diagnosed with AgCC completed tests of general intelligence (IQ) and academic functioning. Executive, social and behavioral functioning in daily life, and social risk, were estimated from parent and teacher rated questionnaires. MRI findings reviewed by a pediatric neurologist confirmed diagnosis and identified brain characteristics. Clinical details including the presence of epilepsy and diagnosed genetic condition were obtained from medical records. Results: In our cohort, ~50% of children experienced general intellectual, academic, executive, social and/or behavioral difficulties and ~20% were functioning at a level comparable to typically developing children. Social risk was important for understanding variability in neuropsychological outcomes. Brain anomalies and complete AgCC were associated with lower mathematics performance and poorer executive functioning. Conclusions: This is the first comprehensive report of general intellectual, academic, executive social and behavioral consequences of AgCC in school-aged children. The findings have important clinical implications, suggesting that support to families and targeted intervention could promote positive neuropsychological functioning in children with AgCC who come to clinical attention. (JINS, 2018, 24, 445–455)
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