Brain training may help prevent dyslexia

Mar 08, 2018, 15:07 IST | PTI

Effective activities could be used to train the brain to prevent future disorders such as dyslexia, scientists say

Representation pic
Representation pic

Effective activities could be used to train the brain to prevent future disorders such as dyslexia, scientists say. Over the years, several studies have shown that the the brain is able to naturally adjust the frequency of its waves with the oscillations or the rhythm of what it listens at each moment.

However, little was known so far of the consequences of the effect of brain synchronisation, also known as brain-entrainment, in brain regions directly related to language processing. Researchers at Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in Spain studied this aspect and has thoroughly analysed the brain synchronisation of 72 individuals.

According to Nicola Molinaro, a researcher at the BCBL, the experiment has shown that the synchronisation with speech is more intense when the brain listens to low frequency waves - those related to the accent, tones and intonation of speech. The study showed that this synchronisation results in a direct activation of the brain regions related to language processing, as is the case of the Broca area, a section located in the frontal lobe of the left hemisphere and involved in the production of the same.

In previous work, researchers found that children with dyslexia show a weak synchronisation with low frequency bands, and therefore, a poor activation of the regions related to language processing. Molinaro said that therapeutic interventions focused on language learning can be developed during childhood by stimulating low frequency auditory components and thus obtain a clearer idea of the sounds that make up the language.

"For example, brain synchronisation can be measured while a child with dyslexia is listening and giving a reward if it stimulates more synchronisation with the low frequency band," said Molinaro. "It can help those who are out of sync to pay more attention to the tones, accents and intonations of speech," she said. This could be applicable to tasks with speech therapists, developing specific interventions to synchronise with low frequency speech.

"With repeated training sessions we can help children with language delay to recover the mechanisms of attention," Molinaro said. The researchers conducted two studies with 35 and 37 individuals respectively; these individuals had to listen to different sentences for about six minutes.

Through magneto encephalography (MEG), a non-invasive technique that allows accurately recording and analysing the neuronal activity of the brain while the participants perform a task as simple as listening to talk, the brain regions that were synchronised with the different frequency bands were analysed.

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