A new study suggests that MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging may be used for early detection of a disorder that affects the developmental reading skills of a person making it difficult to read and interpret letter ands symbols or most commonly known as “dyslexia” among pre-school children.
Elizabeth Norton, PhD, lead author of the study from the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research and her colleagues said that the results of this research could lead to rapid identification and solution for the roughly 10 percent of U.S. kids known to have developmental dyslexia.
The study participants consists of 40 pre-reading and early-reading kids with ages between four and six who had been identified to have smaller left arcuate fasciculus and who scored lower on phonological assessments. The left arcuate fasciculus attaches brain areas activated in speech and language processes.
Norton and her team also invited kids from a wider study of reading development in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to join in the brain study. The 52 eligible kids can speak American English natively and completed 36 weeks age of gestation before birth. They also had no sensory difficulties but make use of glasses. They haven’t taken nervous system medications, had no neurological or other developmental diagnoses and have standard IQ scores. Twelve scans were discarded thus decreasing the samples to 40.
The 19 boys and 12 girls also took six behavioral tests, as well as, three from the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing. Those examinations tested interpretation and differentiation of kids with word sounds, whether they could read easy words, and if they knew the alphabet.
After the assessments, the researchers concluded that about 30 percent is at risk of dyslexia.
The boys and girls showed no dissimilarities in both behavioral tests and brain scans.
The researchers will continue monitoring these children and may gather up to 180 MRI scans up until the children reach second grade by 2016.
Though behavioral tests alone cannot prove dyslexia in children close to the end of second grade, Norton agrees that these results can provide a more comprehensive assessment when done with structural MRI, functional MRI, and EEG.
The result of this research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.