Some children with dyslexia struggle to read because their brains aren't properly wired to process fast-changing sounds, according to a brain-imaging study published this month in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. The study found that sound training via computer exercises can literally rewire children's brains, correcting the sound processing problem and improving reading. According to the study's first author, Nadine Gaab, PhD, of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at Children's Hospital Boston, the finding may someday help clinicians diagnose dyslexia even before reading begins, and suggests new ways of treating dyslexia, such as musical training. Children with developmental dyslexia confuse letters and syllables when they read. The idea that they may have an underlying problem processing sound was introduced by Paula Tallal, PhD, of Rutgers University in the 1970s, but it has never been tested using brain imaging.
Some people who have problems reading quickly appear to have abnormalities in the white matter of their brains, according to research published in the December 4, 2007, issue of Neurology® , the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers say these findings provide a model to better understand ways in which the brain may have developed differently in people with learning disabilities. For the study, researchers tested the reading and cognitive abilities of 30 adults, 10 of whom had periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH), a rare genetic brain disease that causes seizures and reading disabilities. Ten of the adults had dyslexia, one of the most common learning problems in the general population, and the other 10 participants were healthy and had no reading problems.
Dyslexia marked by poor reading fluency -- slow and choppy reading -- may be caused by disorganized, meandering tracts of nerve fibers in the brain, according to researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The study, using the latest imaging methods, gives researchers a glimpse of what may go wrong in the structure of some dyslexic readers' brains, making it difficult to integrate the information needed for rapid, "automatic" reading. The study was led by Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Genetics at Children's Hospital Boston, and Bernard Chang, MD, a neurologist at BIDMC. Findings will appear in the journal Neurology on December 4. "We looked at dyslexia caused by a particular genetic disorder, but what we found could have implications for understanding the causes of dyslexia in other populations as well, " says Walsh, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at BIDMC.
First Cell Phone That Reads To The Blind And Dyslexic Released By Joint Venture Of Kurzweil Technologies And The National Federation Of The Blind
K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc., a company combining the research and development efforts of the National Federation of the Blind and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc., unveils an exciting product line that will revolutionize access to print for anyone who has difficulty seeing or reading print, including the blind and learning disabled. The company's world-renowned reading software has been especially designed for and paired with the Nokia N82 mobile phone to create the smallest text-to-speech reading device in history. A press conference to demonstrate the Reader Mobile product line, including the knfbREADER and the kREADER, will be held on January 28 at 10:00 a.m. The demonstration will take place in the Columbia Room, Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C Street, SW, Washington, DC. This truly pocket-size Reader enables users to take pictures of and read most printed materials at the push of a button.
Two researchers at MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research will head an ambitious new project to study the origins of autism and dyslexia, supported by a $8.5M grant from the Ellison Medical Foundation. The project leaders, Nancy Kanwisher and John Gabrieli, are prominent experts in neuroimaging and human brain development. Autism and dyslexia are complex brain disorders that first appear in early childhood. Autism impairs social interactions and communication, and affected individuals may engage in bizarre and repetitive behaviors. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that manifests itself as reading difficulty despite adequate education and otherwise normal perceptual and intellectual abilities. Little is known about the causes of either disorder, although both are highly heritable.