Marker for Dyslexia Discovered

Guest_Jim_* - March 7, 2013 03:49PM in Science & Technology

Dyslexia is a not uncommon learning impairment that affects one's ability to read. For decades researchers have been trying to understand what causes it and how to treat it, so the estimated 10% of society can overcome it. Researchers at Northwestern University have recently reported that they appear to have found a biological marker for the disorder.

Previous work has found that dyslexia, a disorder that specifically affects hearing, is related to one's auditory skills. What the Northwestern researchers have done is identify a relationship between a child's reading ability and how their brain encodes sounds. To find the relationship the researchers measured the children's automatic brain wave responses as they listened to speech sounds. The best readers showed greater consistency when encoding the sounds than the poorer readers, and the researchers believe the encoding stabilizes when a child successfully learns a sound's meaning.

Luckily the researchers also found a way to treat the dyslexic students by fitting them with assisted listening devices. These devices exclusively transmit their teacher's voice to their ears and block out other sounds, allowing the children to better focus on the sounds. After just one year the students no longer needed the devices to maintain their reading proficiency.

Source: Northwestern University