What causes dyslexia?
While scientists estimate more than 10 percent of the world struggles with dyslexia, what exactly causes it?
The learning disability that makes reading and processing speech a challenge all its own is called dyslexia. If you gather a group of ten random people, at least one in the group is affected by the problem.
As it occurs from a problem with brain connectivity, some think that the way speech sounds are represented in the brain is to blame as it is an impairment similar to that of trouble hearing. Others think that the brains of people with dyslexia can represent sounds correctly, but they struggle to access them because of the faulty connections within the brain.
The goal is to better understand the roots of dyslexia, as doing so will lead to better ways to help those who struggle with the disability.
When people read words or hear language spoken out loud, the brain creates an almost simultaneous map to represent the basic sounds created in speech, which are scientifically known as phonemes.
In a new study, clinical psychologist Bart Boets of KU Leuven in Belgium decided to analyze the disability using brain imaging to test their hypothesis that either sound representations or flawed wiring-- one of the two-- best explains the direct cause of dyslexia.
After studying 23 adults with the disease and 22 without, the scientists then mapped out sounds to their phonetic representations.
"To our surprise, and I think to the surprise of a large part of the dyslexia research society, we found out that phonetic representations were perfectly intact," said Boets. "They were just as robust and distinct in individuals with dyslexia as they were in typical readers."
It seems that the exact cause of dyslexia still remains a mystery.