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Preoperative versus Postoperative Language Specialization in Infants with Sagittal Craniosynostosis: An ERP Study
Carolyn Chuang, BS1, Max Rolison, BS1, Jenny F. Yang, BS1, Eric D. Brooks, MD1, Peter W. Hashim, MD2, Roberto Travieso, MD1, Jordan Terner, MD3, Katherine K. Stavropoulos, PhD1, Derek M. Steinbacher, MD DDS1, Nicole Landi, PhD4, Linda C. Mayes, MD1, John A. Persing, MD1, James C. McPartland, PhD1.
1Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA, 2Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA, 3Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, USA, 4University of Connecticut College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Storrs, CT, USA.

PURPOSE: We compared perceptual narrowing, representative of language specialization, in infants with nonsyndromic sagittal craniosynostosis (NSC) preoperatively versus postoperatively using event-related potentials (ERPs) to measure impact of surgery on language processing. In refinement of our previous work, this assesses discrimination of native/non-native speech instead of rudimentary response to general speech.
METHODS: 50 infants (15 NSC, 35 control) completed an EEG at age 3-6 months (pre-surgery); 33 infants (7 NSC, 26 control) completed a second EEG at age 12-14 months (post-surgery). During the EEG, infants listened to the dental /da/ and retroflex /da/ phonemes, present and not present in English, respectively. The mismatch negativity (MMN) ERP was extracted from EEG. Statistical analyses included t-tests and repeated measures analysis of variance.
RESULTS: Preoperatively, there was a statistically significant (p=0.01) difference in the MMN between the NSC versus control groups at the left frontal electrodes; the other regions showed no significant differences between groups (p>0.05). Within groups, there was a significant effect of region within the left hemisphere of controls (frontal greater than central, p=0.009), while in NSC there was a significant effect of region within the right hemisphere (central greater than frontal, p=0.015). Postoperatively, there was no significant difference in the MMN between the NSC versus control groups (p>0.5) in all regions, and no significant within-group effects (p>0.2) were observed.
CONCLUSION: There were significant differences in the MMN between NSC and control infants preoperatively but not postoperatively, which may suggest a more typical pattern of perceptual narrowing in NSC infants after surgery.


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