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Brain Lang. 2012 Mar;120(3):381-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2011.12.015. Epub 2012 Jan 29.

Neural dissociation of phonological and visual attention span disorders in developmental dyslexia: FMRI evidence from two case reports.

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CNRS UMR 5105, 38040 Grenoble, France.


A dissociation between phonological and visual attention (VA) span disorders has been reported in dyslexic children. This study investigates whether this cognitively-based dissociation has a neurobiological counterpart through the investigation of two cases of developmental dyslexia. LL showed a phonological disorder but preserved VA span whereas FG exhibited the reverse pattern. During a phonological rhyme judgement task, LL showed decreased activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus whereas this region was activated at the level of the controls in FG. Conversely, during a visual categorization task, FG demonstrated decreased activation of the parietal lobules whereas these regions were activated in LL as in the controls. These contrasted patterns of brain activation thus mirror the cognitive disorders' dissociation. These findings provide the first evidence for an association between distinct brain mechanisms and distinct cognitive deficits in developmental dyslexia, emphasizing the importance of taking into account the heterogeneity of the reading disorder.

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