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New process may diagnose dyslexia in children earlier

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

(NECN) - In some groundbreaking medical news, In the Journal of Neuroscience publication August 2013, researchers at MIT and Boston Children's Hospital reported that brain scans may help diagnose dyslexia in preschool, prereading children. Lead investigator John Gabrieli, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, indicated that (left arcuate fasciculus) brain fibers connecting an area of the brain involved in speech production with another used to understand written and spoken language is different (smaller and less organized) in dyslexics. In this study, the volume of the left arcuate had a particularly strong link with poorer pre-reading test results. Higher composite phonological awareness scores were significantly and positively correlated with the volume of the arcuate fasciculus, but not with other brain tracts.

According to Dr. Levinson, these very important findings in adult dyslexics and at-risk pre-readers require a holistic perspective for proper understanding and context. In studies on thousands of dyslexics, Levinson found 98% to have clinical evidence of only a cerebellar-vestibular dysfunction. Importantly, the vast majority of dyslexics (greater than 99%) evidenced more than just reading problems, and included symptoms involving writing, spelling, math, memory, speech, space and time, balance and coordination, concentration, etc. All these diverse reading and non-reading symptoms as well as their cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) determining mechanisms were noted to respond favorably, rapidly and often dramatically to inner-ear enhancing medications in 75-85% of treated dyslexics. Moreover, acquired dyslexic states resulted from inner-ear impairments, including transient dyslexia triggered by spinning and zero gravity, eg. "space dyslexia" in orbiting astronauts. In addition, Levinson was able to screen preschool children predisposed to developing the dyslexia syndrome by testing them for impaired inner-ear balance, coordination and rhythmic signs and symptoms. Since none of the above dyslexic findings can be explained by Gabrieli's data and phonetic concepts, perhaps Levinson's theory may encompass Gabrieli's?

To explain his data, Levinson defined dyslexia as a syndrome resulting when diverse brain structures failed to sufficiently descramble the distorted reading and related signals received and transmitted; and that the signal scrambling was due to a fine-tuning dysfunction of inner-ear/cerebellar origin, secondarily impairing higher brain processing. An example of the brain's normal descrambling capability follows:

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG

7H1NG5! 0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG.

Since Gabrieli's findings are as crucial and valid as are his own, Levinson reasoned that impaired left arcuate fasciculate fibers may sufficiently decrease normal cerebral descrambling capability so that distorted reading-related signals of inner-ear origin cannot be recognized, perhaps explaining the severest reading disturbances in dyslexics. By continually analyzing, reconciling and integrating experimental and clinical data, Levinson developed a unifying cerebellar-vestibular theory of dyslexia capable of encompassing and/or explaining most other hypotheses.

About Harold Levinson, M.D.

Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center,Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Great Neck, New York. He is a well known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. His "highly original" research into the cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) origins andtreatmentstreatments of dyslexia and related learning, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and anxiety or phobic disorders has evolved over the past four decades. Levinson's concepts encompass the collective insights derived from the examinations, follow-up and successful treatment of over35,000 children, adults and even seniors and have led to new methods of screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. His expanded theories appear capable of encompassing and/or explaining all reported symptoms as well as most other concepts and experimental data, thus resulting in a truly holistic perspective.

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