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Science. 2009 Jul 17;325(5938):280-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1171999.

Dyslexia: a new synergy between education and cognitive neuroscience.

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  • 1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Division of Health Sciences and Technology and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT, 43 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Reading is essential in modern societies, but many children have dyslexia, a difficulty in learning to read. Dyslexia often arises from impaired phonological awareness, the auditory analysis of spoken language that relates the sounds of language to print. Behavioral remediation, especially at a young age, is effective for many, but not all, children. Neuroimaging in children with dyslexia has revealed reduced engagement of the left temporo-parietal cortex for phonological processing of print, altered white-matter connectivity, and functional plasticity associated with effective intervention. Behavioral and brain measures identify infants and young children at risk for dyslexia, and preventive intervention is often effective. A combination of evidence-based teaching practices and cognitive neuroscience measures could prevent dyslexia from occurring in the majority of children who would otherwise develop dyslexia.

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