Explore BrainMass

Explore BrainMass

    Dyslexia - Causes

    This content was COPIED from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

    1. I was wondering if someone could help me find two journal articles that I can access and aren't too difficult to understand.
    2. One article must be on dyslexia being caused by faulty wiring within the brain and the other must be on dyslexia being caused by dysfunction in the auditory process.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 9, 2019, 5:46 pm ad1c9bdddf

    Solution Preview

    Please see response attached. I hope this helps and take care.

    Interesting topic! I located several articles that I uploaded below for convenience, and provided numerous other links throughout to consider:

    I was wondering if someone could help me find two journal articles that I can access and aren't too difficult to understand. One article must be on dyslexia being caused by faulty wiring within the brain and the other must be on dyslexia being caused by dysfunction in the auditory process (inner-ear research by Levinson). Thanks
    Interestingly, one can tie these two theories together, as the main founder of the theory associated with auditory (e.g., inner ear problems), links the findings of brain dysfunction to inner ear problems. However, the faulty wiring within the brain theorists argues that it is brain structure (e.g., faulty wiring) that is the problem, not inner ear. The first articles look at faulty wiring theory and the last two look at the work of Levinson (inner ear theory).

    Examples: Faulty Wiring

    Article 1:

    New research traces cause of dyslexia to an abnormality in the cerebellum
    Life for a dyslexic child is like living in a foreign country, according to scientists who say the condition is the result of the failure of the brain to "automatically" learn routine tasks.

    After a 12-year research project Sheffield University academics have traced the cause to an abnormality in the cerebellum - the complex structure at the back of the brain.
    Their research has already produced a series of diagnostic tests, which are being used by 3,000 schools. Researchers say it is important to identify dyslexia early so that alternative teaching methods can be used to reduce the chance that young children will become frustrated and disaffected at their lack of progress.
    Professor Rod Nicholson and Dr Angela Fawcett focused on evidence suggesting that dyslexic children even when reading well are less fluent and need more time and effort to read than their same age classmates. They tested the theory that dyslexic children have problems learning to do anything "automatically".

    "We have used the analogy of driving in a foreign country - one can do it but it requires continual effort and is stressful and tiring over long periods." Said Dr Nicholson.

    The pair used brain-scanning techniques to identify differences in function in the cerebellum - which is usually highly active in a range of skills from speaking to keeping a list of words in memory. Dyslexic children scored low marks in the clinical tests, while dyslexic adults showed only 10 per cent of the normal brain activity when carrying out a familiar task and learning a new one. The brains of dyslexics and non-dyslexics showed physical differences in the cerebellum.
    (TES 17 September 1999) (http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Database/dysresearch.html#Newresearch).
    See other new research: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Database/dysresearch.html

    Article 2:

    There's evidence that dyslexia is caused by a problem with processing sounds in the brain (e.g. faulty wiring). Dyslexia sufferers get confused when trying to link rapid-fire consonants like "b" and "d" to specific letters, say scientists at the University of California, San Francisco.

    In a recent study, the researchers recorded brain-wave responses of adults to a series of two beeps. The dyslexia sufferers showed distinct responses to both tones but only when there was a half-second pause between them.

    As the gap shortened, delayed response to the first sound obscured the second. The good readers could consistently tell the two apart. Other researchers have found hints of the problem in infants.
    Psychologists Dennis and Victoria Molfese at Southern Illinois University played a series of taped syllables, like "dee" and "bee," for newborns in the hospital and then recorded their brain-wave responses.
    Eight years later, when the same children were in third grade, the researchers tested the kids for dyslexia. Preliminary results show that 80 percent of the dyslexia sufferers exhibited a single trait as newborns: on average, they responded to sounds three tenths of a second later than other babies.

    "Kids should be treated early before years of reading failure in school," says Dennis Molfese. (Thanks to Univ. of Wales, Bangor.) (Excerpted from http://www.dyslexia-test.com/research.html).

    Also see http://www.dyslexia-teacher.com/t105.html for research suggesting faulty wiring within the brain.
    Article 3: Faulty wiring (Excerpt)


    Nicole Stevenson

    Dyslexia is a neurological-based, specific learning disability, characterized by language handling deficiencies, impairment in the ability to recognize and translate words into sentences. It is said that a reading disability reflects a continuous deficit as opposed to an arrest in development and can occur in a person of any level of intelligence. Dyslexia can be related to hormonal or hereditary influences, or brain injury. One in five children are thought to have dyslexia and it is found to be more prevalent in males.(1) The difficulties caused by dyslexia do not accurately measure the sufferer's intelligence. Geniuses of our time, such as Einstein, have been affected by the problems of automatic decoding of words and formation of accurate sentences. It is said that many dyslexics "shine in the arts, creativity, design, computing and lateral thinking." (2) The etiological basis suggests that reading disorders stem from difficulties in phonological processing, i.e. the brain's inability to translate images from the eyes completely and correctly to the ears and mouth.(3) Symptoms of dyslexia range from reading and writing difficulties, to speech, direction, time, concentration, coordination, and even self-esteem issues. Other mental disorders are often found to be co-morbid, yet still separate from dyslexia. Common are disorders such as attention deficit and depression, enhanced by the general feelings of helplessness and confusion of dyslexia..(4) Co-morbid problems tend to lessen once the individual seeks successful help with their dyslexia.

    There are thought to be various main factors within the brain that contribute to dyslexia. Two of those factors are linked an underutilized left hemisphere and a central bridge of tissue in the corpus callosum. Via brain scanning techniques, such as the fMRI, scientists have proven that dyslectics fail to use the angular gyrus (visual association area) in the left hemisphere of the brain when they read, unlike "normal" readers. The link between the angular gyrus and the occipital and temporal lobes appears to be almost disconnected, causing problems between visual and auditory processing.(5) Problems in the corpus callosum are blamed for poor reading abilities. The right hemisphere of the brain recognizes a word as connected to a definition. The left hemisphere is in charge of putting the sounds of the word together to make it audible.(6) The corpus callosum is the bridge between the two sides of the brain; if this bridge is weak or faulty, then signals will not transfer well. Lack of proper signaling results in a breakdown of communication, which leads to understanding and execution difficulties.

    Doctor Harold Levinson's major research findings in the early 1970s helped to back this up. His research was able to demonstrate that learning disabilities (i.e. dyslexia) were due to a "simple signal-scrambling disturbance of the inner-ear"(7) Without the ability of a fully functioning inner-ear, signals get crossed and lost, resulting in a general confusion that inhibits learning and comprehension. It is also thought that the language sectors of the brain in a person with dyslexia are smaller than that of a non-dyslectic.

    Furthered research on reading difficulties allows for a better understanding not only of the disorders, but also to how "normal" people read. Different approaches designate different subtypes to the general category of dyslexia. There seem to be four main disorder subtypes, surface dyslexia, phonological dyslexia, spelling dyslexia, and direct dyslexia. These different types of dyslexia range from either the loss of the ability to read phonetically, the loss of whole-word reading ability, or a combination of the two. Direct dyslexia refers to the ability of the sufferer to read words aloud yet with an inability to understand what they read. Other dyslexics can understand what they read but are unable to pronounce those same words.(8)

    Primary dyslexia is considered to be a dysfunction within the cerebral cortex (e.g., wiring problem), which seems to be hereditary. The condition of an individual with primary dyslexia is not thought to change with age. Secondary dyslexia, on the other hand, is thought to be caused during early fetal development and able to disappear gradually as the individual ages. Trauma dyslexia occurs when damage occurs to a sector(s) of the brain.(9)

    An alternative explanation for the existence of dyslexia is that the disorder is actually not a downfall, but actually a gift, a special form of thought. This group chooses to portray dyslexia in a very different light then the more conventional medical community. The idea is that reading difficulties are a result of disorientation and that levels understanding have to do with the confusion threshold of each individual. An entire therapy protocol referred to as Davis Orientation Counseling was developed with the idea in mind that the individual possesses the ability to correct their own disorientation through the mastering of the symbols that cause confusion.(10) Unlike the medical model for dyslexia, the Davis model believes that such reading disabilities are caused by outside factors such as poor diet, print styles, certain sounds, scheduling changes, fear, change in the environment, etc. The general idea is to recognize the confusion and figure out how to control it so that it does not cause cognitive difficulties.

    An extensive variety of tests are available in order to assess the likelihood of dyslexia and other learning disorders. Treatment is also available in various different forms, all in favor of strengthening the ability of the individual to compensate for their difficulties. Skilled specialist tutoring and committed learning is a must. One common, straightforward plan is an increased, intense study of phonics. Treatment should be focused on the individual and what their specific desires for themselves are, that need to be met. Due to the wide range of strengths and weakness that arise with each individual affected by dyslexia, treatment and results vary.(11) Attitude is also one of the most important aspects to be stressed. Without a positive outlook, the individual is doomed not to improve. Nothing is concrete in the study of dyslexia, much research and education are still in need for a better understanding and treatment of this disorder.

    WWW Sources

    1) Barkley, Russel A. & Eric J.Mash. Child Psychopathology Guilford Press, NY, NY. 1996 (pg.418)
    2) http://www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk/what.htm#top
    3) Barkley, Russel A. & Eric J.Mash. Child Psychopathology Guilford Press, NY, NY. 1996 (pg.418)
    4) http://dyslexiaonline.com/information.html
    5) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/events/prleftdy.htm
    6) http://www.dyslexia.org
    7) http://www.dyslexiaonline.com/info_whatisdyslexia.html
    8) ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution discusses two articles related to two causes of dyslexia e.g. caused by faulty wiring within the brain or caused by dysfunction in the auditory process.