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Brain Defect Underlies Reading Difficulties of Dyslexia

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Knowing a biological cause for dyslexia should help researchers come up with better ways of diagnosing the disorder. Currently, most children are not diagnosed as dyslexics until they are in the second or third grade and have a hard time reading. "As a society, we're not doing a very good job at diagnosing children at risk for reading failure," Zeffiro says.

But understanding the specific brain functions and regions that go awry should allow researchers to come up with better diagnostic tests for children as young as 4 or 5. Those at-risk children could be directed to an intervention program that would help them learn to read better, Zeffiro says.

Parents should be aware that young children are at risk of dyslexia if at least one parent or relative has it, says Wood. And they should also be wary of quick and easy fixes for dyslexia. "Dyslexia can only be treated by trained teachers," he says.

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