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Dyslexic readers: your brain connects in a different way

Thanks to a type of MRI, looks like dyslexic readers have different levels of connectivity between regions of the brain.

“Compared to typical readers, dyslexic readers had weaker connections between areas that process visual information and areas that control attention, suggesting that individuals with dyslexia are less able to focus on printed words.” Emily Finn

The findings were published on the latest version of Biological Psychiatry.

Read more: biologicalpsychiatryjournal...

How do you feel about new findings like this one?

Comment bellow!

16 Replies

Well, really, that isn't exactly news to me, but I'm not certain that a discipline that purports to 'promote excellence in scientific research and education in fields that investigate the nature, causes, mechanisms and treatments of disorders of thought, emotion, or behavior' is compatible with someone such as I who tends to work with people rather than labels.

If I did, I might have to revise some previous preconceptions. Am i to believe that dyslexia is now being defined as one of the 'major psychiatric disorders'?

I am intrigued that this journal believes itself able to not only write of the 'pathophysiology' of dyslexia but its 'treatment.'

Or have I missed something here?

Of course, publishing only the abstract can lead to a skewed emphasis on what the research purports to have found.


I haven't read the article but aren't they suggesting weaker synapsis links are the ssue, which would be genetic surely? Im only going by the quote?


Fantastic ....anything that proves and might filter down to the educators on the ground that Dyslexia isn't a made up condition, is good.

There are still plenty of people who think Dyslexia is made up. Maybe not amongst the educated but the more this is investigated and the more information is published the more chance those who are totally ignorant of dyslexia might just start to understand something about it and in public life stop seeing workers as lazy or stupid.

1 like

For me, Dyslexia = 'thinking differently' or 'using the brain differently'.

It is not having a DISORDER ! - still more a PSYCHIATRIC CONDITION !!

Although I think the term 'made up' is problematic - as i see it, the whole of allopathic medicine, and certainly the basis for DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders) is just that, 'made up' - but I'm aware if what you mean is that some people do not understand/accept dyslexia as 'real'.

As I had occasion to mention to an educative needs assessor yesterday, I met someone last year who said he had just got a job in a 'Dyslexia awareness' organisation.

I was intrigued and, to be honest, wondered how I might get such a job myself.

Within a minute I learned that this chap had no personal experience of dyslexia (which wouldn't strictly be necessary, but i wondered where he gained an understanding of dyslexia for which to promote awareness). Within 2 minutes he had said 'It's not like it's a disability or anything.'

At this stage I thought I should disclose my own 'diagnosis'.

and though I had decided I probably would not want to work in the organisation that had chosen to employ him (we were at a forum meeting for people promoting projects, so it wasn't like he had been employed just to make good coffee or something for which an understanding of dyslexia wasn't essential) but suggested he might want to review the Equality Act (2010) before he engaged anyone else in conversation about dyslexia.

I'm all for raising awareness in those who need educating that people are different AND equal

but I don't want to encourage people labelling others.

Being considered to 'have a disability' or 'be mentally-ill' alone have at various times/places been grounds for extermination and many people live with the ignorance/prejudice of others.

I don't think everything is down to genetic predetermination alone.

Plasticity in brains - i.e. their ability to reshape, form new cells, form new neural pathways / patterns / thoughts / behaviours etc. is now basically assumed by 'science' as well as 'art'.

I recognise I am different to everyone in some ways and am definitely not 'neuro-typical'.

But actually I don't consider I have a disorder.

Some research suggests that 'dyslexia' used to be 'the norm' , but as humans became more 'civilised' their brains mostly became re-programmed for the new type of world.

To me, it's the thinking of those kind of brains, with a penchant for convergent thinking, that may be very 'succesful' in their own terms, but are often mostly responsible for creating circumstances that makes life particularly difficult for those with divergent thinking!

Different 'brain connectivity' to me seems similar to being what some label 'colour blind'.

It's a whole different reality.

But we are all different in some ways anyway (e.g. no 2 people see colour in exactly the same anyway).

Some people don't always appreciate that.

If we can keep communicating there is hope they will...



Im going to take my pants by their seat and say I don't agree! *Caroline ducks down and waits for the firing to begin*. Honestly Friendly Lion your answer is so high brow I dont understand some of it and maybe you and I are getting hung up on semantics but here goes.

To quote you:

For me, Dyslexia = 'thinking differently' or 'using the brain differently'.

It is not having a DISORDER ! - still more a PSYCHIATRIC CONDITION !!

I agree its not a disorder how ridiculous, but a psychiatric condition?! What like OCD or being a psychopath, or having schizophrenia or bipolar, to name a few. Do we have personality disorders because we process information differently?!

Does a lateral thinker have a psychiatric condition as opposed to a liner thinker?

Could it not simply be that life today is not constructed to make the most of the dyslexic way of processing and disseminating information, so that actually our environ is the problem not us?

Please don't categorise me a Psychiatric Condition where the very root of my personality is the problem (ergo I need to change my attitude to change my condition? or I have an inability to change because it is ingrained in personality and I cannot strengthen or change my new neural pathways, form new cells etc).

No it's not for me, I respect your right to have and to defend a Psychiatric Condition but its not for me. I was dropped as a baby :-) and the bump my head did it, that will do me....lol.

May I also say for all those who have the above Psychiatric Conditions I'm not making a value judgement or saying I'm better, but I am reserving the right to say that I dont attribute my own odd brand of getting things done as having the same root cause.

If I personally have a lunatic strain, that comes from my Mother and has NOTHING to do with my dyslexia :-) Im just lucky I guess ...lol



Umm one thing Im confused about is when you say weaker links between visual information and focus, well Im an artist and I cant produce a good image/ likeness unless I concentrate and focus intently and I do this without being forced (for hours) because I am absorbed by the magic of what I'm doing. Different connections I can understand, weaker connections in some areas maybe, but a lot of dyslexic get their information via visual imagery.

100 years ago someone I knew at college's mum was doing a thesis on Chinese and Dyslexia, as we know written Chinese is a series of visual engaging often beautiful symbols ; what she found apparently is that dyslexia as in a form of reading issue, didnt exist ( now that was some years ago and I cant say for sure if she was right). However if she was right well it was because of 'visual' symbolism.


hiya Caroline,

After brief scan of yr messages b4 i go to work...

I'm not quite sure what you are doing with your pants, but I think we agree on most things!

I believe I should have written 'it is not a disorder still LESS a psychiatric condition!' (maybe im dyslexic or something!)

I am v much arguing against 'dyslx' being a considered 'psychiatric condition' - and don't feel qualified to rule on others, which is why with all the people diagnosed with with 'OCD' 'schizophrenia' etc. i meet i tend to ignore the 'diagnosis' and concentrate on the person, what the are saying to me and what they seem to want to move towards.....

If i seem highbrow to you , you can blame my 'Asperger's' - which i don't believe is a disorder or a psychiatric condition either, although i meet lots of people who don't understand it and think i'm weird (but probably less weird than i consider them). i might blame both my parents who were certainly not normal...

dyslexics migt have weaker connections in some areas, BUT, yes, stronger in others hooray

u r creating neural pathways whenever you learn

there is no known dyslexia in Chinese (i cant refer you to an academic source for that right now but maybe if you visited college records of 100 yrs ago u could find it and send to me)

i had no idea you were so old and wise ;)

(i can also be cheeky but im not sure if it is dyslx or aspie)

have a beautiful day




Just seen this, sorry for the confusion and what a lovely reply!

Okay so on Wiki there is a long but interesting article called 'Orthographies and dyslexia' it explains that depending on your type/style of dyslexia and learning difficulty reading....

'Chinese children have a more severe form of dyslexia as opposed to an alphabetic language such as English. Not only are they phonologically at a disadvantage, but their visuospatial processing is impaired. When children have a visuospatial disorder, their visual system when looking at Chinese characters will not activate the semantic information to understand what they are reading.'

Thats very sad, I wanted to believe that somewhere in the world there was a society having a fine ole time without Dyslexia. One thing that has come out in my quick scan on the net is there seem to be some countries with fewer incidences of dyslexia? Baring in mind it seems to be agreed dyslexia is hereditary what happened there!

Also the article says dyslexics often have ADHD? Do they? I count ADHD as a completely different condition,to me that like saying because I get hayfever I have acne?! Ive met someone with ADHD and if he is indicative of what that means we are 'nothing' alike!


I love this what an intelligent response:

'and don't feel qualified to rule on others, which is why with all the people diagnosed with with 'OCD' 'schizophrenia' etc. i meet i tend to ignore the 'diagnosis' and concentrate on the person, what the are saying to me and what they seem to want to move towards.....'

I have an old friend contacting me who is schizophrenic and to be honest Im having trouble dealing with her, the reason being in the past she looked to me for advice and I feel I am unqualified to give advice to someone with a psychological condition ( sometimes its severe). I feel it isn't a level playing field I understand, maybe your attitude will help me.

Are you questioning that I am 100 years old! tsk ...lol.

I have something else to say about 'Asperger's' but Im not sure you'd want to hear it, shall I tell or keep my trap shut! :-)

Thanks again really enjoyed reading your reply.



Check this out...now this really is hillarious made me laugh out loud!

Dyslexia is meaningless. But don't worry – so is ADHD

How many illnesses of modern childhood are excuses for bad behaviour, stupidity or parental neurosis?

Rod Liddle

15 March 2014,

in The Spectator.


Well Im off back to my cave dwelling seems there need be no more progress in the world today....lol



Hey CarolineLondon I had a good chuckle at the those comments in the spectator. I've been reading the conversation with interest as I recognise all those traits in me. your comments below is an interesting one:

'Also the article says dyslexics often have ADHD? Do they? I count ADHD as a completely different condition,to me that like saying because I get hayfever I have acne?! Ive met someone with ADHD and if he is indicative of what that means we are 'nothing' alike!'

I agree with you on this but I think the article is misunderstanding a fundamental point that that often dyslexic children, and adults in my case, suffer from not very good concentration. This will often lead to behaviour that is deemed as disruptive in the classroom. This is often then assumed to be ADHD when in reality it is more likely that the person just isn't engaged so they fidget. I think my teacher used to refer to me as a thumb twiddler.


Ever the great listener and misquoter of Radio 4 and Radio 4 extra and of course the heavenly place known as Youtube!

Check out Sir Ken Robinson's Changing Paragram about Education, where he suggests that ADHD is caused by an overwhelming amount of information in a digital age, from various sources. Even more interesting that we are literally drugging our kids 'anaesthetising' them instead of 'waking them up to their full potential'.

It's just a short film with the squeaky pen drawings of RSA...which I love and could watch endlessly!

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

Thumb twiddling...cant you get pill for that :-)

P.S. Nice photo Mr Wilson why your nearly as good looking as me... Thelma...my glasses, my glasses...lol.


hi Caroline,

Ive been a bit busy lately and in order to now fill in some times sheets am going through old pages of email and in amongst the dross just found some of yours i hadn't seen.

Sad to hear about the Chinese dyslexics, already love Ken R's pressie, glad u liked my response (and you had previously said something like 'when I was at college 100 years ago').

I've recently been told i could add ADHD to my list of 'letters after my name'.

I think ADHD (if it exists) is what happens if you get teachers / learning environments (or indeed any environment which you need to have feedback from!) that fails to take into account that diverse thinkers need to be engaged ('coralled' even) otherwise we may well go off at tangents ... 'What does everyone else know that i don't?' was an interesting read for me a few years back and explained 'blanks' with an example of someone being asked to "Get bread and milk... oh, and pick up our son from football" but just started heading for the door after 'milk' which meant they 'blanked' the rest. I know i do it sometimes.

Although you may share all my diagnoses, glad you are reclaiming your life from anxiety, dyslexia, ME or anything else that I might be a member of ..... x


Last night i watched Horizon on BBC TV about 'dark matter', 'dark energy' and 'dark flow'. I laughed out loud when scientist were asked to explain them and some said they couldn't even proove they existed, found them v annoying and hoped they'd go away!

Meanwhile the Psychologist magazine this month is trying to work out if anyone knows what autism is yet.....


1. I'm a male.



4. If you doubt this, ask any women......


This was meant as an attempt at humor.




a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement:

the humor of a situation.


the faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical:

He is completely without humor.


an instance of being or attempting to be comical or amusing; something humorous:

The humor in his joke eluded the audience.


the faculty of expressing the amusing or comical:

The author's humor came across better in the book than in the movie.


comical writing or talk in general; comical books, skits, plays, etc.


humors, peculiar features; oddities; quirks:

humors of life.

Seriously, just ask any women.......

; )


I'd just like to add that when seriously drunk BOTH men and women can be dropped from a helicopter at night in an unknown town, in the dark....AND STILL find their way home!

I once cycled home from a party (in a town I didnt know), 3 sheets to the wind, the result was a 40 min journey took me 2 hours as I lost my way and I was drunk and it was dark but I got home!! Never mind Amundson and the north pole!


P.S. I just got the BIG print book of inner London A-Z :-)....Nooo you cannot have a peak! tsk


I agree with their findings and have always got brain tired from reading too much most I can manage is 2 hours a long break then back to it again.otherwise I don't absorb anything.


I found that very negative focusing on what cannot be done and saying its a weekness,it's not lastest knews, it's a bad attitude to what people do not understand. Dyslexic people have a gift, but some of you with a closed mind will say not because it does not fit in with Standard!,! Standard no we are spectacular!!!!!


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