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Health & Medicine Root of Dyslexia may be Caused by Faulty Brain Wiring

Root of Dyslexia may be Caused by Faulty Brain Wiring

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First Posted: Dec 06, 2013 02:44 PM EST
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The study included average individual and those with dyslexia (not pictured here.) (Photo : J. Adam Fenster, University of Rochester)

A recent study shows that dyslexia, or what's more commonly referred to as difficulty with language processing, may be connected to abnormal patterns between auditory and speech centers in the brain.

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Researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium analyzed brain scans and found that phonetic representation of language remain intact in adults with dyslexia. However, they my be less accessible than those found in the control group due to deficits in brain connectivity.

Lead study author Bart Boets, a clinical psychologist at the university, used a technique known as multivoxel pattern analysis that actually studies fine-scale brain signals as study participants with the disorder and in the control group listened to a battery of linguistic fragments such as 'ba' and 'da.'

Findings showed that neural activity in both primary and secondary auditory cortices showed consistently distinct signals of different sounds for the participants with dyslexia and the control group. However, brain images showed something quite different.

For those with dyslexia, findings showed less structural integrity between white-matter tracts that connect the auditory cortices and the left inferior frontal gyrus-both areas important for language processing and speech development. In other words, these individuals showed less communication between their auditory and speech centers.

Though it has previously been though that dyslexic people have a distorted perception of speech sounds, Georgetown University neuroscientist explains via Science that it's rather that "the problem seems to be in the pathways down the road that help us assemble those sounds and produce these sounds when we read out loud."

However, study authors caution that more research needs to be conducted in order to make a definite connection as these results are atypical.

More information regarding the study can be found via the magazine Nature

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