Dyslexic children`s brains operate more like those of normal readers following training

rds can be broken into sounds, called phonemes, and that these sounds have to be identified with letters.`` This process might appear intuitive, but it is a learned skill, Tallal said.

The training program the children took part in was targeted at helping them learn to process and interpret the very rapid sequence of sounds within words and sentences by exaggerating and slowing them down. ``These are the building blocks you have to have in place before you can learn to read,`` Tallal said. ``I think Fast ForWord is building the scaffold for reading, and doing it based on scientific knowledge of the most efficient and effective way of helping the brain learn.``

The study

The study included 20 dyslexic children aged 8 to 12 years. Their brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at Stanford`s Lucas Center for Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy before and after participating in the eight-week training program. A control group of 12 children with normal reading abilities also had their brains scanned but did not participate in the training.

The scanning machines, which look like beds that slide into small tubes, normally are used to check for brain injuries or tumors, Gabrieli said. With slightly different software they can be used to measure which regions of the brain are active by looking for changes in blood oxygenation, a process that occurs in parts of the brain where the neurons are active.

Study lead author Elise Temple, assistant professor in human development at Cornell, headed the research as a graduate student at Stanford. Both the dyslexic children and the control group were asked to perform a simple rhyming task while having their brains scanned. Participants were shown two uppercase letters and told to push a button if the two letters rhymed with each other. For example, `B` and `D` would match, but not `B` and `K.`

Twenty-minute sessions were broken into five-minute segments, dur

Contact: John Gabrieli
Stanford University

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