SEP 08, 2020 7:12 PM PDT

Synchronizing Brain Waves Could Help Dyslexia Effects

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Mikyska

New research from the University of Geneva shows that adults with dyslexia can read more fluently with a non-invasive electrotherapy treatment called Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS).  

Reading requires us to know phonics of a language, how those phonics combine to make words, and then recall these in the blink of an eye when given the written form.  Dyslexia is a disconnect between recognizing a word and delivering the corresponding sound.  This might be caused by neural activity in the audio cortex, which should operate at 30 Hz, to fall out of sync.  

Electrical activity carries messages from the body to the brain, and back, in a cycle.  The application of tACS can synchronize neural feedback loops so the brain can function more efficiently, and success has been reported in targeting neural activity for Tinnitus, Depression, and Schizophrenia.  

During the University of Geneva study, participants- adults with and without dyslexia- wore earphones while they completed various reading tests.  The earphones delivered silent gamma waves, but the ear still feels these waves and passes them on to the brain.  The study showed that channeling 30Hz gamma waves to dyslexic participants while they read immediately improved their reading fluency.  In contrast, some participants without dyslexia read less fluently with the electrotherapy.  

The researchers are now concerned with using this technique with dyslexic children and testing whether the improvement is sustained over time. 



Sources: Healthline, Marchesotti et al, Neuromodec, ScienceDaily

About the Author
  • Amanda graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in Biology. After working in research on creating biochemicals from genetically engineered yeast, she started freelance science writing while traveling the world. Now, Amanda is a Lab Manager and Research Assistant at the the University of Central Florida, studying the molecular phylogeny of parasitic wasps. She writes about the latest research in Neuroscience, Genetics & Genomics, and Immunology. Interested in working on solutions for food/water security, sustainable fuel, and sustainable farming. Amanda is an avid skier, podcast listener, and has run two triathlons.
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