Friday, October 28, 2005

A gene for dyslexia

At last. If this holds up the implications are vast. We will be able to clearly identify one subtype of a common learning disorder. We'll be able to identify variations in the associated phenotype, and match therapies to the gene. We will gain vast insights into the bizarre miracle of reading (note to intelligent design folks -- the evolution of reading is much more interesting than the evolution of the retina).

This gene modulates the "migration of neurons", it is presumably one of a class of genes that determines the very structure of the human brain. Alter these genes, alter that which makes a human.

Wonderful news.

Less wonderful if it becomes part of a prenatal profile that may lead to abortions. This is a future we knew was coming.
BBC NEWS | Health | Scientists discover dyslexia gene

Up to a fifth of dyslexia cases could be caused by a faulty version of a gene called DCDC2, scientists believe.

In the mutant form, DCDC2 leads to a disruption in the formation of brain circuits that make it possible to read, say the Yale team.

Their finding could lead to earlier diagnosis of dyslexia, meaning educational programmes for dyslexic children could be started earlier.

The work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The gene is located on chromosome six and Dr Jeffrey Gruen and his team at Yale School of Medicine believe it causes as many as 20% of dyslexia cases.

Dyslexia covers a range of types of learning difficulty where someone of normal intelligence has persistent and significant problems with reading, writing, spelling.

Up to six million Britons are believed to have dyslexia - 4% of the population is severely dyslexic and a further 6% have limited problems.

Other genes have already been linked to dyslexia.

... Dr Gruen said; "The gene itself is expressed in reading centres of the brain where it modulates migration of neurons. This very architecture of brain circuitry is necessary for normal reading...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Reading disabilities workshop 10/26 at Groves Academy

Grove Academy is doing more community outreach. First is a series of workshops is one on reading disabilities:

Groves Academy announces the first community workshop in a six-part series of workshops focused on topics specific to learning disabilities.

Workshop: Reading Disabilities: Identification and Intervention
Speaker: John Alexander, Groves Academy Head of School, M.Ed., Harvard University
When: Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 7pm – 8:30pm
Where: Groves Academy, 3200 Highway 100 South, St. Louis Park
Admission: Free and open to the public
Registration: Reservations required. Call 952-920-6377

Workshops will be approximately one hour long with 30 minutes of questions and answers afterward. Other workshop dates are 11/29/05, 1/31/06, 2/23/06, 4/20/06 and 5/16/06.