Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stanford brain imaging study shows physiological basis of dyslexia

29.09.2011
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have used an imaging technique to show that the brain activation patterns in children with poor reading skills and a low IQ are similar to those in poor readers with a typical IQ. The work provides more definitive evidence about poor readers having similar kinds of difficulties regardless of their general cognitive ability.

Schools and psychologists have historically relied on a child's IQ to define and diagnose dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read: If a child's reading achievement was below expectation based on IQ, he would be considered dyslexic, while a poor reader with a low IQ would receive some other diagnosis. But these new findings provide "biological evidence that IQ should not be emphasized in the diagnosis of reading abilities," said Fumiko Hoeft, MD, Ph.D, an instructor at Stanford's Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research, who is senior author of the study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.

The new results come in the wake of recent behavioral studies showing that phonological deficits -- that is, difficulties in processing the sound system of language, which often leads to difficulties in connecting the sounds of language to letters -- are similar in poor readers regardless of IQ. Indeed, the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandated that states no longer require school districts to use IQ tests in identifying individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

"There's a disassociation between what is established in research and what is happening in practice," said Hoeft, explaining that many U.S. schools still rely on a discrepancy between reading achievement and IQ to define and diagnose dyslexia. At first glance, she added, it would seem to make sense that poor readers with typical IQs would have different learning challenges than those with low ones.

The use of IQ in diagnosing dyslexia, which affects 5 to 17 percent of U.S. children, has real implications for poor readers. If children aren't diagnosed as dyslexic, they don't qualify for services that a typical dyslexic does, and they're not taught strategies to overcome specific problems in the way they view and process words.

To further understand what happens in the brains of poor readers with different IQs, Hoeft turned to imaging. She and her colleagues expected poor readers with typical IQs to exhibit similar patterns of brain activation as poor readers with low IQs. Their experiments, she said, were intended to confirm that the two groups had the same neurophysiological basis for impaired phonological processing and that their reading problems were not related to IQ.

The study involved 131 children, ranging from 7 to 16 years old, from Allegheny County, Penn., and the San Francisco Bay Area. The children were put into three groups: poor readers with typical IQ, poor readers with low IQ and typical readers with typical IQ. The children then took a reading test and underwent a brain-imaging technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, as they completed a task that involved judging whether two visually presented words rhymed (e.g., bait and gate) or not (e.g., price or miss).

In both samples, the typical readers had significantly higher reading-related scores and more accurate performance on the rhyme-judgment task than the two other groups. And there were no significant differences between the two groups of poor readers on these measures.

In the fMRI analysis, researchers found that both groups of poor readers exhibited significantly reduced activations relative to typical readers in the left inferior parietal lobule and left fusiform gyrus. The researchers also used a sophisticated analysis to determine that the brain patterns of each group of poor readers looked liked those of the other group of poor readers more than 80 percent of the time, and did not often resemble the patterns from the normal readers.

Hoeft noted that the results are timely. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard diagnostic guide for mental illnesses and brain disorders, is currently being revised, and there is a proposal to change it so that IQ wouldn't be taken into consideration when diagnosing dyslexia. (The new version, DSM V, will be released in 2013.) This work, she said, is the, "first study reporting biological neuroimaging evidence to support" that change.

"Convergent psychological, educational and now neurobiological evidence suggests that the long-standing and widely applied diagnosis of dyslexia by IQ discrepancy is not supported," the researchers wrote in the paper.

Hoeft and her colleagues also point out that these and other findings indicate that, "any child with a reading difficulty, regardless of his or her general level of cognitive abilities (IQ), should be encouraged to seek reading intervention."

Hoeft said she will continue her work in this area and is hoping to use imaging to predict outcomes of poor readers. She also plans to look at younger readers to see if imaging can be used to diagnose children at younger ages.

The study's two lead authors are Stanford graduate student Hiroko Tanaka and Jessica Black, Ph.D, of Boston College. The other Stanford co-authors are graduate student Leanne Stanley; Shelli Kesler, Ph.D, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; and Allan Reiss, MD, the Howard C. Robbins Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, a professor of radiology and the director of Stanford's Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are also co-authors.

The work was supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Ellison Medical Foundation, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, Spectrum Child Health & Clinical and Translational Science Award, Dyslexia Foundation and the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression.

Information about the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, which also supported the research, is available at http://psychiatry.stanford.edu/.

The Stanford University School of Medicine consistently ranks among the nation's top medical schools, integrating research, medical education, patient care and community service. For more news about the school, please visit http://mednews.stanford.edu.

The medical school is part of Stanford Medicine, which includes Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. For information about all three, please visit http://stanfordmedicine.org/about/news.html.

PRINT MEDIA CONTACT:
Michelle Brandt
650-723-0272
mbrandt@stanford.edu
BROADCAST MEDIA CONTACT
M.A. Malone
650-723-6912
mamalone@stanford.edu

Michelle Brandt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.stanford.edu

Further reports about: Brain Brain Sciences IQ test IQs Medicine Psychiatry behavioral health services

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>