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Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/20/2017 9:14 PM

Interesting, dyslexia may be an eye problem and not a brain problem.

"ARROW SCIENCE

Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

BY MICHELE DEBCZAK OCTOBER 18, 2017

ISTOCK

"Dyslexia is often described as trying to read letters as they jump aroundthe page. Because of its connections to reading difficulties and trouble in school, the condition is often blamed on the brain. But according to a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the so-called learning disability may actually start in the eyes.

As The Guardian reports, a team of French scientists say they've discovered a key physiological difference between the eyes of those with dyslexia and those without it. Our eyes have tiny light-receptor cells called rods and cones. The center of a region called the fovea is dominated by cones, which are also responsible for color perception.

Just as most of us have a dominant hand, most have a dominant eye too, which has more neural connections to the brain. The study of 60 people, divided evenly between those with dyslexia and those without, found that in the eyes of non-dyslexic people, the arrangement of the cones is asymmetrical: The dominant eye has a round, cone-free hole, while the other eye has an unevenly shaped hole. However, in people with dyslexia, both eyes have the same round hole. So when they're looking at something in front of them, such as a page in a book, their eyes perceive exact mirror images, which end up fighting for visual domination in the brain. This could explain why it's sometimes impossible for a dyslexic person to distinguish a "b" from a "d" or an "E" from a "3".

These results challenge previous research that connects dyslexia to cognitive abilities. In a study published earlier this year, people with the condition were found to have a harder time remembering musical notes, faces, and spoken words. In light of the new findings, it's unclear whether this is at the root of dyslexia or if growing up with vision-related reading difficulties affects brain plasticity.

If dyslexia does come down to some misarranged light-receptors in the eye, diagnosing the disorder could be as simple as giving an eye exam. The explanation could also make it easy to treat without invasive surgery. In the study, the authors describe using an LED lamp that blinks faster than the human eye can perceive to "cancel out" one of the mirror images perceived by dyslexic readers, leaving only one true image. The volunteers who read with it called it a "magic lamp." The researchers hope to further experiment with it to see if it's a viable treatment option for the millions of people living with dyslexia."

http://mentalfloss.com/article/507941/scientists-may-have-found-real-cause-dyslexia%E2%80%94and-way-treat-it

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#1

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/20/2017 10:03 PM

As a dyslexic I've found that D's and B's or E's and 3's look just as they should, but sometimes when I write I can't remember which direction they should face.

It will manifest in other ways, but it's not something I'd try to repair.

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#2
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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/20/2017 10:19 PM

Interesting. Maybe your brain, in reading, figures it out from context, i.e., from the rest of the word? The brain is very flexible and learns to cope.

Does this "theory" make sense to you? You have a unique viewpoint that those without dyslexia don't have.

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#3
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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/20/2017 11:48 PM

I'm not dyslexic, AFIK, but lower case b's and d's always confuse me when printing.

Never when writing long hand (cursive) which I assume that you meant too.

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#4

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/21/2017 12:25 AM

I think most people think that everybody sees and processes information pretty much the same, and those that seem to have difficulties are somehow deficient in some way, I don't think this is true at all.....Our brains are unique and all work pretty much the same electrochemically, but they all have different reference data which can be in different sensory categories, and the connections or relationships between the information are unique to the individual, so different perspectives are unique to each individual....this is basically the strength of diversity, a wider base of reference...Dyslexia would seem to offer no disadvantage in anything other than written communication....perhaps there are advantages too...?

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#5
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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/21/2017 1:10 PM

I agree, our brains are all different, shaped by our experiences. People who have been blind since birth have no experience of sight. Seeing has to be learned, in spite of the movies that show a blind person having an operation to restore sight and being amazed by the world around them when the bandages are taken off. The truth is that a blind person whose sight is restored is generally totally confused.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_from_blindness

There is evidence that the visual cortex of a person blind since birth gets "repurposed" by the other senses.

"People who have been blind from birth make use of the visual parts of their brain to refine their sensation of sound and touch, according to an international team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC)."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006131203.htm

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#12
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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/23/2017 7:06 AM

Funny you would mention that. Last night I was watching a program on Netflix; called "Weird Wonders of The World," and they covered a blind man who chirps like a bat and actually sees through the sonar reflections. He was blind basically since birth. The scientists did a cat scan on him, while he was interpreting these reflective sounds. It showed that his brain had repurposed his visual neo-cortex to help him build a mental picture of his environment. It shows him riding a bike and walking through a park that he's never been to before and describing what he hears/sees. Quite fascinating.

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#9
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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/22/2017 12:45 AM

I read a book once called "The Gift of Dyslexia", and it was mainly about dyslexic people can think in 3D. I know I can, and other people think better linearly. For instance, I could solve a Geometry Proof in my head as fast as the professor could draw it on the board, but I struggled like hell with the rules of Algebra and their left-right relationship during the process of solution. Cross multiplication rules and for that matter, left hand and right hand rule for current and magnetism and rotation. I have to look them up every time!

We all have strengths and weaknesses.

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#13
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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/23/2017 7:43 AM

I was doing fine until differential equations. No matter how much I studied never made sense to me - same for my brother and father before me. For exams on magnetism I sat on my left hand for the whole test so I didn't get confused. So far my two sons are getting high 90's in math in high school so wonder how they will do in college. One has dyslexic tendencies and the other taught himself to read when he was 4 so he is in same grade as his brother but 15 months younger.

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#6

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/21/2017 2:44 PM

I can't say with certainty that I'm dyslexic.

I was told so in elementary school so it must be true.

That said. I never thought about it as a visual impairment.

It's more about memory to me. Writing the number 4 gives me the same issues as b,d,e and 3. I forget which way to write it and end up with a backwards 4 one out of a hundred times. There is no mirror image I'm mistaking it for so that's why I believe it to be a memory issue.

I have a few dozen one and two syllable words I use daily that I can'r remember the spelling for. once becomes onece and so fourth.

I take issue with movies and television shows show imagery where numbers are literally jumping around. That's just crazy

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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/21/2017 5:22 PM

Assuming that this study is correct and dyslexia corresponds to symmetry in the fovea between the two eyes, then there very well could be varying degrees of dyslexia, corresponding to how closely the two eyes are symmetrical. Apparently strongly dyslexic subjects were chosen for this study.

It's ironic that other species don't seem to have the asymmetry that is considered "normal" in human vision. This asymmetry would seem to be a defect or imperfection in vision but is advantageous for reading and writing. Since the majority of humans seem to have this asymmetry you might wonder whether it has been selected for.

The original paper is actually quite readable.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1865/20171380

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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/21/2017 8:11 PM

I'll be.. reading.

thanks!

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#10

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/22/2017 2:13 PM

Eye cetrainly have duobts abuot this.

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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/23/2017 12:17 AM

Em oot!

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#14

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/23/2017 10:54 AM

Wouldn't the easy solution be to cover one eye and then read? If the problem is that both eyes are fighting with each other, just take one out of the equation. This can be done with an eye patch rather than rapidly pulsing light.

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Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/24/2017 8:12 PM

You know, I wondered about that too.

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#15

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/23/2017 11:39 AM

I like to say I'm not,... but I do question this.

When I programmed code... in a past life,... (20+ years ago...) one of the languages was LISP,... also known as Lost In Stupid Parenthesis.

There were times, I would be hung up on code for quite a while... just from parenthesis locations... I like to say that its a lot different now with the editors they have now for debugging, but no,... in my case, its the operator.

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#16

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/23/2017 5:53 PM

In the study, the authors describe using an LED lamp that blinks faster than the human eye can perceive to "cancel out" one of the mirror images perceived by dyslexic readers dyslexic I agree with that, I also found certain letters in a word stand out and your brain gets confused with the order to input the information. I have always liked flashing lights to music especially when you mix the 3 primaries Red, Green and Blue. I still have my Musicolor Mk 3, I built it at high school. I had a Blue LED for years and used it in my car, it was wired to the ignition coil pulse receiving the dwell time to turn off to what the RPM of my engine was doing while driving. If you go back to my early tweets on Twitter you will see the random words that did not jump out and rearrange at the time. I used Beta Google alerts to catch samples to a Yahoo mail box. I used to copy the subject lines out and delete words than made no sense to me to come up with phrase out of blocks of text. I am ambidextrous and can operate machines. I was tending to be left handed and my parents changed to right handed when I was young. I could read and write Roman English before I started school, I still print to this day. Someone shared a QB64 program on the forum called Rockets I modified it to end up with this https://youtu.be/wwnUU_Bs360 Its much better if you run it locally the colors. I have it on Github https://github.com/smokingwheels/rockets

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#17

Re: Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It

10/24/2017 7:39 PM

OOOPS! Never mind.

The study was supposed to be about Byslexia, but someone spelled it wrong.

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