A Belgium-based research team has discovered that a slow connection between where the brain stores the auditory building blocks of language and where it processes them may be the cause of dyslexia.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques to scan the brains of both dyslexic and non-dyslexic college-age adults while they distinguished among a variety of sounds and built a correlation map. Initially, the research found that both groups were able to distinguish and sort the sounds accurately, albeit the dyslexic group did so more slowly. The researchers then examined how well the 13 studied areas of the brain, 12 of which are areas known to be involved in language and speech, communicated with each other.

Belgian Study Finds Possible Cause of Dyslexia

Image source: LA Times


They found that the signals suggested functional connectivity in the areas associated with phoneme recognition. They also found, though, that the white matter tracts connecting the phoneme area to a part of the brain that contains the Broca’s area, which regulates the conversion of language to speech, was weaker for dyslexics as a group. Bart Boets, one of the researchers, suggested that this is similar to a slower processor in computers.

What this research suggests is that the information that dyslexics collect is not degraded, but rather the connection to reach the data is too slow. While the intervention implications of this study remain unclear, Boets hopes that the work will lead to therapies that stimulate discrete regions of the brain.

To read more about this breakthrough study, visit the LA Times website.