Nav: Home

Brain stimulation reduces dyslexia deficits

September 08, 2020

Restoring normal patterns of rhythmic neural activity through non-invasive electrical stimulation of the brain alleviates sound-processing deficits and improves reading accuracy in adults with dyslexia, according to a study published September 8, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Silvia Marchesotti and Anne-Lise Giraud of the University of Geneva, and colleagues.

Dyslexia is a frequent disorder of reading acquisition that affects up to 10% of the population, and is characterized by lifelong difficulties with written material. Although several possible causes have been proposed for dyslexia, the predominant one is a phonological deficit, i.e., a difficulty in processing language sounds. The phonological deficit in dyslexia is associated with changes in rhythmic or repetitive patterns of neural activity, specifically the so-called "low-gamma" (30-Hz) oscillations, in a sound-processing region of the brain called left auditory cortex. But a causal relationship between these oscillations and the ability to process phonemes had not been established in previous studies.

To address this question, the researchers applied transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) over left auditory cortex in 15 adults with dyslexia and 15 fluent readers for a period of 20 minutes. This intervention immediately improved phonological processing and reading accuracy in the dyslexia group, specifically when 30 Hz (but not 60 Hz) stimulation was used. Interestingly, the beneficial effect on phonological processing was most pronounced in those individuals who had poor reading skills, whereas a slightly disruptive effect was observed in very good readers.

According to the authors, the results demonstrate for the first time the causal role of low-gamma oscillatory activity in phonemic processing. The findings may pave the way to non-invasive therapeutic interventions aimed at normalizing oscillatory function in auditory cortex and improving phonological processing in individuals with dyslexia.

Dr. Marchesotti adds "The next steps for us are to investigate whether normalizing oscillatory function in very young children could have a long-lasting effect on the organization of the reading system, but also to explore even less invasive means of correcting oscillatory activity for instance using neurofeedback training".
-end-
Peer reviewed; Experimental study; People

Research Article

In your coverage please use these URLs to provide access to the freely available articles in PLOS Biology:http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000833

Citation: Marchesotti S, Nicolle J, Merlet I, Arnal LH, Donoghue JP, Giraud A-L (2020) Selective enhancement of low-gamma activity by tACS improves phonemic processing and reading accuracy in dyslexia. PLoS Biol 18(9): e3000833. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000833

Funding: This study has been supported by the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuro Engineering (WCP-006, to A-LG, http://www.wysscenter.ch) and Swiss National Science Foundation (320030B_182855, to A-LG, http://www.snf.ch), and by the NCCR Evolving Language (http://www.evolvinglanguage.ch). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Neural Activity Articles:

Neural cartography
A new x-ray microscopy technique could help accelerate efforts to map neural circuits and ultimately the brain itself.
Early neural activity associated with autism
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have found evidence of signature brain activity in infants that predicted ASD symptoms later at 18 months old.
A novel comprehensive model tackles arcane PTSD differences in neural activity
Toshinori Chiba (ATR) and his collaborators have proposed an innovative new ''Reciprocal Inhibition Model'' of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may aid considerably in its treatment.
A focused approach to imaging neural activity in the brain
MIT engineers have developed calcium indicators, or sensors, that accumulate only in the body of a neuron.
Get excited by neural networks
Scientists at The University of Tokyo introduced a new method for inferring the energy of the excited states of electrons in materials using machine learning.
NIH BRAIN Initiative tool helps researchers watch neural activity in 3D
Our ability to study networks within the nervous system has been limited by the tools available to observe large volumes of cells at once.
The neural basis of sensory hypersensitivity
A study from MIT and Brown University reveals a neural circuit that appears to underlie sensory hypersensitivity in a mouse model of autism, offering a possible strategy for developing new treatments.
Neural compass
Harvard Medical School neuroscientists have decoded how visual cues can rapidly reorganize the activity of compass neurons in fruit flies to maintain an accurate sense of direction.
Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity
Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed ultrasensitive nanoscale optical probes to monitor the bioelectric activity of neurons and other excitable cells.
In a first, scientists pinpoint neural activity's role in human longevity
Researchers discover that the activity of the nervous system might influence human longevity.
More Neural Activity News and Neural Activity Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.