Brain Communication Key To Dyslexia
Story supplied by LU Press Office
Some children with dyslexia suffer from a lack of communication between the two halves of their brain according to researchers at the Universities of Lancaster and Edinburgh.
The discovery was made by psychologists who developed the first ever computer model of the two halves of the brain operating in a young child learning to read.
They inputted written words and observed how the computer had problems with reading when it was programmed to mimic a brain where the right and left halves do not communicate properly. This resulted in the computer learning to read only half as effectively compared with a second computer model of a fully-communicating brain.
The research opens the way to developing new treatments for the learning disorder which affects an estimated 5-10 % of the population or up to 6 million people.
Professor Padraic Monaghan of the Department of Psychology said: "The significance of our work is to fill the gap in the understanding of what causes dyslexia in the brain and the reading difficulties we observe.
"Where you're reading under normal conditions, the two halves of the brain co-operate for identifying the word, but there are problems when the two hemispheres do not communicate effectively.
"The computational model which we programmed with an impaired link in the brain learned to read more slowly. When it read words like 'pint' it had particular difficulties because these are irregularly pronounced compared to words with the similar spelling eg 'lint'. Some types of dyslexics have particular problems with these words."
The findings mean there is now the research on which to develop practical interventions in the classroom for children with dyslexia.
"A very important step in our understanding of dyslexia is to understand the brain's functioning in people with reading difficulties, and the two halves of the brain communicating is critical to this.
"You can learn to read with dyslexia but it takes a lot more practice and a lot more effort."
Another cause of dyslexia is also visual and this may be in addition to the problem of a lack of communication between the two halves of the brain.
The research was funded in part by the Wellcome Trust and the EU but is currently unfunded.
Monaghan, P. & Shillcock, R.C. (2008). Hemispheric dissociation and dyslexia in a computational model of reading. Brain and Language, 107, 185-193.
Thu 26 November 2009
Lancaster University computer scientists are at the forefront of a UK-wide BBC initiative launched today to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology.
Tue 07 July 2015
Over 200 pupils from eight schools across the North West got a taste of what it’s like to study STEM subjects at Lancaster University.
Wed 01 July 2015
Researchers at three top UK universities are developing new ways to simultaneously power and communicate with robots and other digitally connected devices – commonly known as the Internet of Things.
Mon 29 June 2015
An engineering student has received an award in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Mechatronic Student of the Year contest.
Wed 10 June 2015