Why Dyslexia Is More Than a Reading Disorder

07/03/2020 | By More

Gary Waters—Getty Images/Ikon Images

People with dyslexia have difficulty reading letters and words; it’s a learning disability that has nothing to do with their intelligence. Until recently, researchers assumed the challenge could be traced to language difficulties, including problems processing printed words, and they focused their attention on the language parts of the brain.

But in the latest research published in the journal Neuron, scientists led by John Gabrieli, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that dyslexia may be due to a much broader difference in brain function. After analyzing functional MRI brain scans of people with and without dyslexia, they found that those with dyslexia were less adept at something called adaptive learning. When the brain sees something new, whether it’s a word, object, voice or experience, it expends a lot of neural energy to gather as much information about the novel stimulus as possible. But if it does this every time it hears the same voice, or encounters the same dog barking, for example, that wouldn’t be efficient. It’s therefore able to adapt and quickly triage new encounters from familiar ones.

Gabrieli found that in the brains of dyslexics, this process wasn’t occurring when they heard the same person speak different words. Nor did it occur in other tests of the brain’s plasticity, or ability to adapt. That suggests that the trouble with reading has less to do with language specific problems but rather broader issues with adaptivity. In other words, the issues with adapting to new things may compromise skills like reading.

Continue reading here: https://time.com/4608060/dyslexia-reading-disorder/


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Category: Dyslexia, News

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