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Reason Behind Dyscalculia Revealed

Scientists of University College London have conducted a study that offers definitive proof that the right parietal lobe is indeed responsible// for dyscalculia or in layman terms the inability to ‘do math’. The researchers hope the findings will aid in the diagnosis and management of the disorder, through remedial teaching.

Dyscalculia is just as prevalent in the population as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – around 5% of the population is affected. However, dyscalculia has not been given the same attention as other disorders and the underlying brain dysfunction causing dyscalculia is still a mystery. It is hoped that this study will provide a better understanding of the condition and lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Roi Cohen Kadosh, of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, said: “This is the first causal demonstration that the parietal lobe is the key to understanding developmental dyscalculia. Most people process numbers very easily – almost automatically – but people with dyscalculia do not. We wanted to find out what would happen when the areas relevant to maths learning in the right parietal lobes were effectively knocked out for several hundred milliseconds. We found that stimulation to this brain region during a maths test radically impacted on the subjects’ reaction time.

“This provides strong evidence that dyscalculia is caused by malformations in the right parietal lobe and provides sold grounds for further study on the physical abnormalities present in dyscalculics’ brains. It’s an important step to the ultimate goal of early diagnosis through analysis of neural tissue, which in turn will lead to earlier treatments and more effective remedial teaching.”

Using neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to stimulate the brain, scientists were able to bring about dyscalculia in normal subjects for a short time while the subjects completed a maths task that i
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