The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as a learning disorder that is characterized by poor spelling, decoding, and word recognition abilities. There is still no known cause of dyslexia, although it is a very common disability that affects 1 in 10 people. Previous fMRI and MRI research in dyslexia has explored the neural correlations of hemispheric lateralization and phonemic awareness in dyslexia. The present study investigated the underlying neurobiology of five adults with dyslexia compared to age- and sex-matched control subjects using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging. All subjects completed a large battery of behavioral tasks as part of a larger study and underwent functional and structural MRI acquisition. This data was collected and preprocessed at the University of Washington. Analyses focused on examining the neural correlates of hemispheric lateralization, letter reversal mistakes, reduced processing speed, and phonemic awareness. There were no significant findings of hemispheric differences between subjects with dyslexia and controls. The subject making the largest amount of letter reversal errors had deactivation in their cerebellum during the fMRI language task. Cerebellar white matter volume and surface area of the premotor cortex was the largest in the individual with the slowest reaction time to tapping. Phonemic decoding efficiency had a high correlation with neural activation in the primary motor cortex during the fMRI motor task (r=0.6). Findings from the present study suggest that brain regions utilized during motor control, such as the cerebellum, premotor cortex, and primary motor cortex, may have a larger role in dyslexia then previously considered. Future studies are needed to further distinguish the role of the cerebellum and other motor regions in relation to motor control and language processing deficits related to dyslexia.
- A Functional and Structural MRI Investigation of the Neural Signatures of Dyslexia in Adults