Altered Structural Connectome of Children with Auditory Processing Disorder: A Diffusion MRI Study
Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a listening impairment that some school-aged children may experience despite having normal peripheral hearing. Recent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has revealed an alteration in regional functional brain topology in children with APD. However, little is known about the structural organization in APD. We used diffusion MRI data to investigate the structural connectome of 58 children from 8 to 14 years old diagnosed with APD (n = 29) and children without hearing complaints (healthy controls, HC; n = 29). We investigated the rich-club organization and structural connection differences between groups. The APD group showed similar rich-club organization and edge-wise connection compared with the HC group. However, at the regional level, we observed increased average path length (APL) and betweenness centrality in the right inferior parietal lobule and inferior precentral gyrus, respectively, in the APD group. Only HCs demonstrated a positive association between APL and the listening-in-spatialized-noise-sentences task in the left orbital gyrus. In line with previous findings, the current results provide evidence for altered structural networks at the regional level in the APD group, suggesting the involvement of multimodal deficits and a role for structure-function alteration in the listening difficulties of children with APD.