No evidence for cerebellar abnormality in adults with developmental dyslexia

Casper A.M.M. van Oers*, Nadya Goldberg, Gaetano Fiorin, Martijn P. van den Heuvel, L. Jaap Kappelle, Frank N.K. Wijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Developmental dyslexia is commonly believed to result from a deficiency in the recognition and processing of speech sounds. According to the cerebellar deficit hypothesis, this phonological deficit is caused by deficient cerebellar function. In the current study, 26 adults with developmental dyslexia and 25 non-dyslexic participants underwent testing of reading-related skills, cerebellar functions, and MRI scanning of the brain. Anatomical assessment of the cerebellum was conducted with voxel-based morphometry. Behavioural evidence, that was indicative of impaired cerebellar function, was found to co-occur with reading impairments in the dyslexic subjects, but a causal relation between the two was not observed. No differences in local grey matter volume, nor in structure–function relationships within the cerebellum were found between the two groups. Possibly, the observed behavioural pattern is due to aberrant white matter connectivity. In conclusion, no support for the cerebellar deficit hypothesis or the presence of anatomical differences of the cerebellum in adults with developmental dyslexia was found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2991-3001
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


Acknowledgements This study was sponsored by the Utrecht University focus area “Neuroscience & Cognition Utrecht”. We would like to thank Laura Geurts, Saskia Haitjema and Aster Dijkgraaf for data acquisition.

FundersFunder number
Universiteit Utrecht


    • Cerebellum
    • Dyslexia
    • MRI
    • Voxel-based morphometry


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