Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Brain Scans Predict Dyslexia Improvements

Reading Skills Get Better in Kids Who Compensate Using Specific Area of Brain
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Dec. 20, 2010 -- Scientists using brain scanning technologies say they have been able to predict with 90% accuracy which children with dyslexia will be able to improve reading skills over a period of a few years.

Researchers say their findings reveal activity in specific brain regions during reading that could eventually lead to new treatments for people with dyslexia.

“At this time, we cannot say which treatment type will each child benefit from,” study researcher Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, an imaging expert at Stanford University, tells WebMD in an email. “But with more research, and if researchers combine it with intervention studies, then we should be able to identify brain patterns that are predictive of responding to one type of intervention or another.”

She says in a news release that the study “gives us hope that we can identify which children might get better over time” and that the findings represent “a huge step forward.”

The discovery of brain regions involved in the learning disorder “may provide a mechanism for enduring improvement that promotes relatively successful reading development,” according to the study, published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study Suggests Interventions to Help Dyslexics Learn to Read

Dyslexia is a learning disability that impairs a person’s ability to read and affects 5% to 17% of children in the U.S. About 20% of youths with dyslexia develop adequate reading skills by the time they are adults.

But until now, what happens in the brain that permits improvement has not been known, the researchers say.

Brain imaging studies in the past have shown greater activation of specific brain regions in children and adults with dyslexia while they are performing reading-related tasks. In particular, an area known as the interior frontal gyrus seems to be hyperactivated in dyslexic people.

Hoeft and colleagues set out to determine whether neuroimaging could predict which children with dyslexia would gain improvement in reading skills, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI ), which shows oxygen use by areas in the brain, and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI), which shows connections between brain areas.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration