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Brain Scans Shed Light on Dyslexia
Date:3/12/2009

y the brains of dyslexic individuals are "wired," as compared with the brains of "normal" people. In particular, past research has also shown a disconnect between being able to identify the sounds within a word and matching them with the letters, according to the IDA.

The study involved 13 dyslexic readers and an equal number of "non-impaired" readers.

Volunteers were shown visual letters and listened to auditory speech sounds corresponding to single letters. The researchers conducted functional MRI while the participants performed a series of these experiments.

Dyslexic participants had less activation of the superior temporal cortex region of the brain which, among other things, is involved with processing sounds.

"They looked at what happens when people with and without dyslexia try to integrate visual representations with sound representations, and even though that's been thought to be one of the areas that's a problem, this is novel, because they have used brain imaging technology," said Guinevere Eden, director of the Center for the Study of Learning at Georgetown University. "A typical person has an augmented response in this part of the brain, and in dyslexics, they're not seeing that augmentation, suggesting that there does not seem to be a system in place to show that there's an association [between visual and sound] that's going on."

"This is an important step, and it raises the potential for exploring the effects of clinical interventions and for investigating different subtypes of reading challenges," Kotrla said. "There are a million different variants of how visual and auditory processing works."

More information

Visit the International Dyslexia Association for more on this learning disability.



SOURCES: Vera Blau, doctoral candidate, department of cognitive neuroscience, faculty of ps
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