To participate successfully in life, it is important to be able to read and write. Nevertheless, many children and adults have difficulties in acquiring these skills and the reason is not always obvious.
They suffer from dyslexia which can have a variety of symptoms. Thanks to research carried out by Begoña Díaz and her colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, a major step forward has been made in understanding the cause of dyslexia.
Scientists have discovered an important neural mechanism underlying dyslexia and shown that many difficulties associated with dyslexia can potentially be traced back to a malfunction of the medial geniculate body in the thalamus.
The results provide an important basis for developing potential treatments.
People who suffer from dyslexia have difficulties with identifying speech sounds in spoken language. For example, while most children are able to recognise whether two words rhyme even before they go to school, dyslexic children often cannot do this until late primary school age.
Those affected suffer from dyslexia their whole lives. However, there are also always cases where people can compensate for their dyslexia.