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Child Neuropsychology

A blog by Dr Jonathan Reed

  • There is exciting new research emerging showing that well informed interventions can change the brains of children with learning difficulties. A recent study undertaken by Ann Meyler and Tim Keller from Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Brain Imaging shows the effects of this in terms of reading. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the core deficit in dyslexia is a problem with phonological decoding. In terms of brain function this is believed to be associated with a deficit to the left sided parietotemporal region of the brain. In this latest study Meyler and Keller used an fMRI scan to measure blood flow in the brain. They found a deficit in terms of poor blood flow to the parietal region in a group of poor readers. They then taught these children to read using word decoding and reading comprehension tasks. After 100 hours of teaching they rescanned the children and found that blood flow in the parietal region had increased to normal levels. After a year the neural gains persisted suggesting that the teaching had long terms benefits.

    This shows how effective good intervention can be. I think that over the next few years we will see an increasing number of similar studies looking at the effects of well informed interventions on brain activation. It should spark a revolution in how we teach our children. However as is often the case the important point is going to be about getting this information out to the people who teach. For details of this study and other work at Carnegie visit the publications section of this site: