Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Can dyslexia be cured - or, at least, treated?


An article in the Telegraph suggests that it can.

A duo of French scientists say they may have found a physiological cause for dyslexia hidden in tiny light-receptor cells in the human eye which can apparently be righted.

. . .

In the new study, Ropars and colleague Albert le Floch spotted a major difference between the arrangement of cones between the eyes of dyslexic and non-dyslexic people enrolled in an experiment.

In non-dyslexic people, the blue cone-free spot in one eye - the dominant one, was round and in the other eye unevenly shaped.

In dyslexic people, both eyes have the same, round spot, which translates into neither eye being dominant, they found.

"The lack of asymmetry might be the biological and anatomical basis of reading and spelling disabilities," said the study authors.

Dyslexic people make so-called "mirror errors" in reading, for example confusing the letters "b" and "d".

"For dyslexic students their two eyes are equivalent and their brain has to successively rely on the two slightly different versions of a given visual scene," the duo added.

The team used an LED lamp, flashing so fast that it is invisible to the naked eye, to "cancel" one of the images in the brains of dyslexic trial participants while reading.

In initial experiments, dyslexic study participants called it the "magic lamp," said Ropars, but further tests are required to confirm the technique really works.

There's more at the link.

That's potentially a very important discovery.  Dyslexia affects about one in ten people.  If it can be treated, or nullified, those people would have a far easier time learning at school, and working in their chosen profession.  It would revolutionize their lives.

I hope funding will be found to push this research further forward.  It might impact hundreds of millions of people.

Peter

11 comments:

Eainsdad said...

pirate's eye patch for reading?

Anonymous said...

Hm, another reason to stop wasting money on a Mars trip.

Steve

Larry said...

A fair amount of 'pre-processing' of visual input takes place before it even reaches the brain. A biological cause isn't surprising, but the location is.

Gorges Smythe said...

Couldn't they accomplish the same thing by putting a patch over one eye while reading; or would that be too simple?

Anonymous said...

Now THAT is a good reason for scientific research right there. Bettering people's lives, rather than running them (as climate scientists attempt to do).

Bruce said...

Especially when reading dead tree, I find it much easier to read with one eye. It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered that I was dyslexic, and it was something that I...trained myself to recognize and compensate for at a very early age (like around the same time I was learning to read). I learned to recognize when my dyslexia was "kicking in" and to force myself to correct/compensate. Also, I am right eye dominant (along with right hand dominant), but have the ability to force dominance to switch to the left eye - with both eyes open. Came in handy when I was training myself to shoot off-hand, I can switch eye dominance almost as fast as drawing with my right and putting the pistol in my left hand.

Javahead said...

It sounds as if they could get the same effect by wearing an eyepatch if this is the case. I didn't see any mention of trying that. Or if there are people with dyslexia who are blind in one eye.

Even if this only helps some dyslexics, this sounds like good news. Especially if a simple eyepatch would also work. The LED solution sounds as if it would be better, since you can keep both eyes open for depth perception. But for those who just want to try it out first, or don't have the money, it sounds as if there's an inexpensive alternative.

deborah harvey said...

daughter is dyslexic and disgraphic. saved the article for her to read. heartening to hear there may be treatment.
i hate recaptcha. us oldies don't have good enough vision for it.

Tom in NC said...

Dyslexia and eye patches - I just had a mental image of George Patton looking even more bad ass with pirate headgear, on a pontoon bridge pissing in the Rhein!

Roger Ritter said...

The subject reminds me of a cartoon I saw once. A protester is painting a sign: "Stamp out dailysex!" while his girlfriend says, "Maybe I should paint the signs for the dyslexia march, dear!"

andy said...

That's interesting as a workmate of mine has a dyslexic daughter who,he says, finds it much easier to read if she wears glasses with coloured lenses(cant remember what colour though as it seems to vary from person to person).