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« A New Brand of Baby Genius Edu-Woo: The Shichida Method | Main | Dyslexia in New Zealand: Dore Gullibility »

Sunday, November 18, 2007



Editor: I made the link clickable, and added a long quote from Goldacre's article

You may be interested in this UK article about Dore, too.

Bad Science: Ben Goldacre Slams Dore Research


But what about this current study? Well, it's a follow-up of those original children. Jenny Hope in the Daily Mail says there were 35 children with dyslexia. In fact only 29 children were followed up in this study, and only eight of those had a diagnosis of dyslexia or dyspraxia. Some were, in fact, reading very well - up to 22 months ahead of their reading age - before the treatment started. If she'd read the study carefully she might have flagged up some other flaws in it. There was no control group this time, all the children had the Dore miracle cure, so there's no way of knowing if the improvements were due to Dore or some other factors (the passage of time, or just receiving extra input).

The children's progress was again measured with the "dyslexia screening tool", an odd choice: and gains were not made in reading, spelling, and writing in the DST, but in bead threading, balance, and rapid naming.

DST is a screening test, not something you would use for repeated measures of development, and these improvements could reflect, for example, practice at doing the test.

I get nerdier. The study reports benefits in Sat scores and something called "NFER" scores, but these contradict the DST data, and have other problems: Sat scores, for example, are not formal psychometric developmental measures, they are political audit tools, and they are "peer-referenced" with vague, ill-defined criteria at each level.

Congratulations on getting this far. If your attention is starting to flag, then that only goes to show how commercially unattractive a real story, critically appraising real research, would be for a tabloid. I give up. It's a miracle cure.

Liz Ditz

This just in, via Holford Watch

Dorothy VM Bishop (2007)
Curing dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder by training motor co-ordination: Miracle or myth?
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 43 (10), 653–655.


Abstract: Dore Achievement Centres are springing up world-wide with a mission to cure cerebellar developmental delay, thought to be the cause of dyslexia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. Remarkable success is claimed for an exercise-based treatment that is designed to accelerate cerebellar development. Unfortunately, the published studies are seriously flawed. On measures where control data are available, there is no credible evidence of significant gains in literacy associated with this intervention. There are no published studies on efficacy with the clinical groups for whom the programme is advocated. It is important that family practitioners and paediatricians are aware that the claims made for this expensive treatment are misleading.

I could only access the abstract. Holford Watch has more extensive quotations from the full article and a review of efforts to have the story carried in print media.

Holford Watch: Dore pwned in medical journal: expensive and unproven ‘cure’

Holford Watch: Dore, Dyslexia and ADHD: ‘unlikely miracle cure’ stories are viewed as newsworthy; ‘negative’ stories aren’t

Also see this editorial from Nature Neuroscience:



Nature Neuroscience 10, 135 (2007)

A cure for dyslexia?

A company is promoting behavioral exercises as a cure for dyslexia. Scientists worry that evaluation of the program is compromised by design flaws and conflicts of interest and that responses to critics restrict academic freedom.

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