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« Unequal: Dyslexia in Utah, Colorado, and Kansas | Main | Dore Again, Again, Again: Still No Evidence of Efficacy, But Merrily Marketing On »

Sunday, February 24, 2008



This reminded me of this paper

Showing changes in neural activation when symptoms of dyslexia are resolved.

Some of their more recent work is

Liz Ditz

First, abstracts on the two papers Dave mentions, above


Published online on February 25, 2003, 10.1073/pnas.0030098100

PNAS | March 4, 2003 | vol. 100 | no. 5 | 2860-2865

Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: Evidence from functional MRI

Elise Temple, Gayle K. Deutsch, Russell A. Poldrack, Steven L. Miller, Paula Tallal, Michael M. Merzenich, and John D. E. Gabrieli


Developmental dyslexia, characterized by unexplained difficulty in reading, is associated with behavioral deficits in phonological processing. Functional neuroimaging studies have shown a deficit in the neural mechanisms underlying phonological processing in children and adults with dyslexia. The present study examined whether behavioral remediation ameliorates these dysfunctional neural mechanisms in children with dyslexia. Functional MRI was performed on 20 children with dyslexia (8-12 years old) during phonological processing before and after a remediation program focused on auditory processing and oral language training. Behaviorally, training improved oral language and reading performance. Physiologically, children with dyslexia showed increased activity in multiple brain areas. Increases occurred in left temporo-parietal cortex and left inferior frontal gyrus, bringing brain activation in these regions closer to that seen in normal-reading children. Increased activity was observed also in right-hemisphere frontal and temporal regions and in the anterior cingulate gyrus. Children with dyslexia showed a correlation between the magnitude of increased activation in left temporo-parietal cortex and improvement in oral language ability. These results suggest that a partial remediation of language-processing deficits, resulting in improved reading, ameliorates disrupted function in brain regions associated with phonological processing and produces additional compensatory activation in other brain regions.


Published online on February 23, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0609399104
PNAS | March 6, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 10 | 4234-4239

Functional and morphometric brain dissociation between dyslexia and reading ability

Fumiko Hoeft,, Ann Meyler, Arvel Hernandez, Connie Juel, Heather Taylor-Hill, Jennifer L. Martindale, Glenn McMillon, Galena Kolchugina, Jessica M. Black, Afrooz Faizi, Gayle K. Deutsch, Wai Ting Siok, Allan L. Reiss, Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, and John D. E. Gabrieli


In functional neuroimaging studies, individuals with dyslexia frequently exhibit both hypoactivation, often in the left parietotemporal cortex, and hyperactivation, often in the left inferior frontal cortex, but there has been no evidence to suggest how to interpret the differential relations of hypoactivation and hyperactivation to dyslexia. To address this question, we measured brain activation by functional MRI during visual word rhyme judgment compared with visual cross-hair fixation rest, and we measured gray matter morphology by voxel-based morphometry in dyslexic adolescents in comparison with (i) an age-matched group, and (ii) a reading-matched group younger than the dyslexic group but equal to the dyslexic group in reading performance. Relative to the age-matched group (n = 19; mean 14.4 years), the dyslexic group (n = 19; mean 14.4 years) exhibited hypoactivation in left parietal and bilateral fusiform cortices and hyperactivation in left inferior and middle frontal gyri, caudate, and thalamus. Relative to the reading-matched group (n = 12; mean 9.8 years), the dyslexic group (n = 12; mean 14.5 years) also exhibited hypoactivation in left parietal and fusiform regions but equal activation in all four areas that had exhibited hyperactivation relative to age-matched controls as well. In regions that exhibited atypical activation in the dyslexic group, only the left parietal region exhibited reduced gray matter volume relative to both control groups. Thus, areas of hyperactivation in dyslexia reflected processes related to the level of current reading ability independent of dyslexia. In contrast, areas of hypoactivation in dyslexia reflected functional atypicalities related to dyslexia itself, independent of current reading ability, and related to atypical brain morphology in dyslexia.

Liz Ditz

Second, some provocative new papers


Annu Rev Psychol. 2008 Jan 10;59:451-475. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093633

The Education of Dyslexic Children from Childhood to Young Adulthood. Shaywitz SE, Morris R, Shaywitz BA.

The past two decades have witnessed an explosion in our understanding of dyslexia (or specific reading disability), the most common and most carefully studied of the learning disabilities. We first review the core concepts of dyslexia: its definition, prevalence, and developmental course. Next we examine the cognitive model of dyslexia, especially the phonological theory, and review empiric data suggesting genetic and neurobiological influences on the development of dyslexia. With the scientific underpinnings of dyslexia serving as a foundation, we turn our attention to evidence-based approaches to diagnosis and treatment, including interventions and accommodations. Teaching reading represents a major focus. We first review those reading interventions effective in early grades, and then review interventions for older students. To date the preponderance of intervention studies have focused on word-level reading; newer studies are beginning to examine reading interventions that have gone beyond word reading to affect reading fluency and reading comprehension. The article concludes with a discussion of the critical role of accommodations for dyslexic students and the recent neurobiological evidence supporting the need for such accommodations.

PMID: 18154503 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


Q J Exp Psychol (Colchester). 2008 Jan;61(1):142-56. DOI: 10.1080/17470210701508830

Specific disorders and broader phenotypes: the case of dyslexia.

Snowling MJ.

Department of Psychology, University of York, York, UK.

Two studies investigating the cognitive phenotype of dyslexia are described. Study 1 compared three groups of English and Italian children on speed of processing tasks: (a) children with dyslexia, (b) generally delayed poor readers and (c) CA-controls. In tests of simple and choice reaction time and two visual scanning tasks, children with dyslexia performed like controls and significantly faster than generally delayed poor readers. A second prospective longitudinal investigation of children at family risk of dyslexia showed that problems of literacy development were less circumscribed, with affected children showing phonological deficits in the context of more general oral language difficulties. An important finding was that the risk of dyslexia was continuous in this sample; among at-risk children with normal literacy development, mild impairments of phonological skills were apparent early in development, and subtle difficulties with reading fluency and spelling emerged in early adolescence. A case series extended these findings to show that phonological deficits alone are insufficient to explain literacy difficulties, and it is children with multiple deficits (including language problems) that are more likely to succumb to reading failure.

PMID: 18038345 [PubMed - in process]


Q J Exp Psychol (Colchester). 2008 Jan;61(1):129-41. DOI: 10.1080/17470210701508822

What phonological deficit? Ramus F, Szenkovits G.

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique (EHESS/CNRS/DEC-ENS), Paris, France.

We review a series of experiments aimed at understanding the nature of the phonological deficit in developmental dyslexia. These experiments investigate input and output phonological representations, phonological grammar, foreign speech perception and production, and unconscious speech processing and lexical access. Our results converge on the observation that the phonological representations of people with dyslexia may be intact, and that the phonological deficit surfaces only as a function of certain task requirements, notably short-term memory, conscious awareness, and time constraints. In an attempt to reformulate those task requirements more economically, we propose that individuals with dyslexia have a deficit in access to phonological representations. We discuss the explanatory power of this concept and we speculate that a similar notion might also adequately describe the nature of other associated cognitive deficits when present.

PMID: 18038344 [PubMed - in process]


Intensive Instruction Affects Brain Magnetic Activity Associated with Oral Word Reading in Children with Persistent Reading Disabilities,

Simos, P.G. et al.Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 40, No. 1, 37-48 (2007)

DOI: 10.1177/00222194070400010301

Fifteen children ages 7 to 9 years who had persistent reading difficulties despite adequate instruction were provided with intensive tutorial interventions. The interventions targeted deficient phonological processing and decoding skills for 8 weeks (2 hours per day) followed by an 8-week, 1-hour-per-day intervention that focused on the development of reading fluency skills. Spatiotemporal brain activation profiles were obtained at baseline and after each 8-week intervention program using magnetoencephalography during the performance of an oral sight-word reading task. Changes in brain activity were found in the posterior part of the middle temporal gyrus (Brodmann's Area [BA] 21: increased degree of activity and reduced onset latency), the lateral occipitotemporal region (BA 19/37: decreased onset latency of activation), and the premotor cortex (increased onset latency). Overall changes associated with the intervention were primarily normalizing, as indicated by (a) increased activity in a region that is typically involved in lexical—semantic processing (BA 21) and (b) a shift in the relative timing of regional activity in temporal and frontal cortices to a pattern typically seen in unimpaired readers. These findings extend previous results in demonstrating significant changes in the spatiotemporal profile of activation associated with word reading in response to reading remediation.



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8) Repeat the process till Ghotit states that it is done and has no more recommendations to provide.
9) Press Edit Text to enter Edit mode so that you can copy the corrected text.

John Hayes

Re:This reminded me of this paper

I would really like to see a breakdown of the individual scores rather than group scores pre and post intervention in the study.

Generally only the lowest scores in range semed to increase with the higher scores showing a decline of a couple of points in 4 out of 6 measures.

When you add the graphical data ( change of score V's size of effect ) I could almost suggest that the line fit would be better and more informative with a 2 line fit.

One line would be steeper than the one shown showing more effect with increased score.

The other line would be quite a bit flatter indicating less effect and less change in scores.

With the average of the range being so close in value to the average of the individual scores as reported in both pre and post remediation scores, the almost unchanging upper scores ( which would be represented by the flatter line ) in my mind really tends to skew the results.

I guess part of my problem is that I am assuming that there is a fairly even distribution of individual scores in the range because of the average of the individual scores is so close to the average of the range. It could be that the individual scores are only at the top and bottom of the range and still average the same but that seems unlikely.

All the above sets the stage for my question which is : If they can really see the differences in the brain why can't they have predicted which dyslexic would be helped by the intervention when it seems likely that the lower scoreing dyslexics had the largest increases with the highest scoreing dyslexics seeing little score improvement.

If you had dyslexics whose range of scores were 60-95 and gave them lots of intervention which dyslexics would you predict to see the largest increases? I would predict the ones at the lower end of the range.


Ghotit offers unique writing and reading online services for people who suffer from dyslexia, dysgraphia or people who are not native-English speakers. Ghotit’s first service is an online context sensitive spell checker.

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Jess Satnick

Great information!




Nice, balanced treatment of dyslexia. The examples of teaching phonemic awareness were very helpful. I found some interesting phonemic awareness assessments (free) at

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