Brain areas used for reading are also used in other visual tasks; These areas may not work properly in dyslexics
Washington, DC -Addressing a long-standing controversy concerning the causes of reading disability, a series of research studies done by a team at the Georgetown Center for the Study of Learning indicate that the areas of the brain used for reading are the same areas used for other visual tasks, and that these areas may not work properly in the brains of people with dyslexia. However, the researchers also found that an intensive, phonologically based reading intervention program could not only improve reading skills in dyslexics, but could also effect changes in brain activity that can be measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology.
"These study results are further evidence that dyslexia has biological roots," said Guinevere Eden, DPhil, co-director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Learning. "The results are significant because they could one day lead to the creation of an early diagnostic test for dyslexia that might allow us to identify the condition in children even before reading difficulties are present, and thereby intervene early to treat the disorder."
In their first study, Eden and Thomas Zeffiro, M.D., Ph.D., also a co-director of the Center, used fMRI technology to scan the brains of 37 participants-20 with dyslexia and 17 without the disorder-and found that each participant used similar brain areas for reading as he or she did for processing visual motion (identifying the direction of moving dots on a screen). They also found, however, that the dyslexic group activated these brain areas less strongly than the control group did while performing both these two tasks (reading and visual motion detection).
It appears that dyslexic participants-who, by definition, have difficulties reading-also experience difficulties in processing visual motion, and that the areas of the br
Contact: Amy DeMaria
Georgetown University Medical Center