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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Sep 22;462(2):125-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.06.093. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Cognitive demands impair postural control in developmental dyslexia: a negative effect that can be compensated.

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INSERM U887 Motricité-Plasticité, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France.


Children with developmental dyslexia exhibit delayed reading abilities and various sensori-motor deficits. The way these various symptoms interact remain poorly understood. The objective of this study was twofold. First, we aimed to investigate whether postural control was impaired in dyslexic children when cognitive demands are increased. Second, we checked whether this effect could be reduced significantly by a treatment aiming to recalibrate ocular proprioception. Twelve dyslexic and fifteen treated dyslexic children (>3 months of treatment) were compared with twelve non-dyslexic children in two conditions (mean age: 11.6+/-2.1, 12.5+/-1.5 and 10.6+/-1.7 years respectively). In a first condition they maintained balance while fixating a point in front of them. In the second condition the postural task was combined with a silently reading one. Balance was assessed by means of a force plate. Results demonstrated that the mean velocity (i.e. the total length) of the center of pressure (CoP) displacement was increased in the reading task only for the dyslexic group. Interestingly, for the treated children, an inverse tendency was observed: the mean velocity (i.e. the total length) and the surface of the 90% confidence ellipse of the CoP displacement decreased for 13/15 patients and for 12/15 patients respectively, while performing the reading task. Values remained similar to those observed for the control children. Altogether, these results strongly suggest that cognitive demands can impair postural control in developmental dyslexia but this interaction could be normalized. These results sustain the hypothesis of a cerebellar origin for dyslexia.

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