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Distinctive brain pattern may underlie dyslexia

A distinctive neural signature found in the brains of people with dyslexia may explain why these individuals have difficulty learning to read, according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists. The researchers discovered that in people with dyslexia, the brain has a diminished ability to acclimate to a repeated input--a trait known as neural adaptation. For example, when dyslexic students see the same word repeatedly, brain regions involved in reading do not show the same adaptation seen in typical readers. The team used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of young adults with and without reading difficulties as they performed a variety of tasks. In the first experiment, the subjects listened to a series of words read by either four different speakers or a single speaker. The MRI scans revealed distinctive patterns of activity in each group of subjects. In nondyslexic people, areas of the brain that are involved in language showed neural adaption after hearing words said by the same speaker, but not when different speakers said the words. However, the dyslexic subjects showed much less adaptation to hearing words said by a single speaker.

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