The Reading Brain

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Science  24 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6071, pp. 893
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6071.893-a

Developmental dyslexia, which manifests as difficulty with reading, can have long-lasting and detrimental effects on a child's experience with education, with echoes that persist long into adulthood. Raschle et al. have leveraged the indications of familial risk for dyslexia to distinguish differences in brain structure present before reading from those that arise after the battle with reading difficulties is well engaged. The authors studied a total of 36 5-year-old children, all pre-literate, characterized by whether or not their family had a history of dyslexia. Even at these pre-reading ages, functional brain imaging revealed an aberrant signal similar to that found in older children with a confirmed diagnosis of dyslexia. Development of the brain network supporting phonological processing appeared to be delayed. On the other hand, the two groups of children showed no difference in other networks that are hyperactivated when persons with dyslexia are reading. Those networks may instead represent compensation brought into play in the struggle to defeat reading difficulties.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, 2156 (2012).

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