MRI Can Spot Dyslexia Before Children Begin Learning to Read

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Signs of dyslexia can show up on an MRI scan even before a child learns to read, according to researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Functional MRI images on 36 preschool-aged children showed that for those children with a family history of dyslexia they had reduced metabolic activity in certain regions of the brain, according to the study published on-line this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Both the children with family history of dyslexia and the control group did not show increased activity in the frontal brain regions, which older children and adults with dyslexia typically exhibit.

These findings are significant because dyslexia responds well to early interventions. Developmental dyslexia occurs in 5% to 17% of all children, often leading to difficulties reading and poor decoding abilities.

The researchers recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue following this group of children in the study.