Who are we? Stanford Educational Neuroscience Research Program


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Who are we? Stanford Educational Neuroscience Research Program

  1. 1. Spring 2007 CIBSR at Stanford University 650.736.1874 Director: Allan L. Reiss, M.D. The Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR) at the Stanford University School of Medicine is dedicated to research that will improve the lives and well-being of individuals with disorders of the brain. Researchers at CIBSR strive to establish a better understanding of how neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic disorders affect brain development and function in relation to cognition including language, emotion, and behavior. Our research studies are interdisciplinary efforts, which bring together experts from fields such as psychiatry, neurology, psychology, and genetics to explore and seek answers to these complex mind, brain, and behavior questions. We are committed to finding answers to the puzzle of neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic disorders so that causes can be identified, varying syndrome courses and developmental outcomes can be better understood, and treatments can be optimized. The specific goal of the Stanford Educational Neuroscience Research Program is to link the gaps between educational practice and neuroscience research. Our current focus is to understand the brain basis of dyslexia and other reading disabilities and to maximize learning. Our hope is to identify children who will later have reading problems at an early stage and try to prevent or minimize reading difficulties. We also hope to develop brain-based interventions for reading disabilities. Who are we? Stanford Educational Neuroscience Research Program Stanford School of Medicine For Inquires, please contact: Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD Email: fumiko@stanford.edu Phone: (650) 736-1874 Members of the Program SENIOR SCIENTISTS Fumiko Hoeft MD PhD, John Gabrieli PhD (MIT), Connie Juel PhD, Marcel Adam Just PhD (Carnegie-Mellon Univ), Ann Meyler PhD (Carnegie-Mellon Univ) GRADUATE STUDENTS Jessica M. Black, Alexander Gantman, Joshua Heitzmann, Candy Ho, Dana Wittenberg UNDERGRADUATE & HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS Emily Dennis (Whitman College), Nancy Dougherty, Xavier Rotimi Ojo, Sofia Hall- Gallagher (Head Royce High-School) PAST MEMBERS Post-Doctoral Scholars Nobuhisa Kobayashi MD PhD, Kaori Koshiishi MD PhD UNDERGRADUATE & POST-BACCALAUREATE STUDENTS Afrooz Faizi, Arvel Hernandez, Galena Kolchugina, Jennifer Martindale, Genn McMillon, Heather Taylor
  2. 2. Individuals with dyslexia are NOT just ‘delayed’ readers 1,3,5 We recently performed two neuroimaging studies with the support from children with and without dyslexia. In these studies, we found that children with dyslexia show patterns of brain function and structure that are different not only when we compared them to their peers who are skilled readers but also when compared to younger skilled readers who read at the same level as children with dyslexia. More specifically, children with dyslexia, when compared with age-matched skilled readers and reading-level matched skilled readers that are younger, showed lower levels of activation while they judged whether two words rhymed. Rhyme judgment is thought to be a very important skill when reading. Lower level of brain activation was mainly observed in the left posterior brain system including a region called the parieto-temporal region. There was also a reduced amount of grey matter in this left parieto-temporal region in dyslexic children compared to these two control groups. These studies show that the reduced amount of brain activation and grey matter in left posterior cortex may be related to dyslexia per se and not to the level of reading ability (because dyslexic children were still different from the younger skilled readers that read at the same level as children with dyslexia). This indicates the need to provide special reading instructions to children with dyslexia. Individuals with dyslexia may be compensating with their left frontal language area 3 In a recent study, we found that children with dyslexia showed greater brain activation in the left frontal language region compared to their peers when they were judging whether two words rhymed. Their level of brain activation was not any different from younger skilled readers. In addition, there were no structural differences in this region. Collectively, this study suggests that children with dyslexia may be using this left frontal language region to compensate just like younger readers when they have to do a difficult reading-related task. Because we found no evidence of structural changes here, we think that this region may be related to compensation. These findings may indicate that we can target this region for brain-based interventions. Stanford Educational Neuroscience Research Program Page 0 of 4 Useful Links – More Information The International Dyslexia Association. www.interdys.org Phone: (800) 222- 3123 Learning Disabilities Association of America. www.ldaamerica.org Phone: (888) 300- 6710 National Center for Learning Disabilities. www.ld.org Phone: (888) 575-7373 Power4Kids. www.haan4kids.org/p ower4kids/ Phone: (415) 346- 7757
  3. 3. Potential for predicting future reading skills using neuroimaging 2,4 The ability to translate written letters into language sounds (decode) is essential for reading success, and accurate identification for children at high risk for decoding impairment is very important for reducing the frequency and severity of reading impairment. Current educational practice relies on paper and pencil tests for identifying and predicting children who will later have reading difficulties. The goal of this study was to examine whether measures from brain function and structure when combined with the paper-and-pencil measures will predict outcome much better than using paper-and-pencil measures alone. Specific patterns of brain activation while children judged whether two words rhymed, and brain structure including grey and white matter, predicted later decoding ability. Further, when we combined measures from paper-and-pencil tests and functional and structural neuroimaging measures, it predicted decoding outcome much better than just looking at the paper-and-pencil measures or brain measures. These findings suggest that neuroimaging methods may be useful in enhancing the early identification of children at risk for poor reading. Stanford Educational Neuroscience Research Program Page 0 of 4 Current Research We are examining how different brain regions are structurally and functionally connected to understand the brain basis of dyslexia and reading. We hope to integrate these measures in our current models so that we can predict outcome better. We are examining whether we can predict gains in reading skills in dyslexia. This is important because some people learn to compensate and some people do not over the years of their education, and one important question is to ask why and how these differences occur. We hope to investigate younger population including children with and without risk for reading disabilities but before they learn to read to investigate whether we can predict if they develop dyslexia and other reading difficulties later. This may help us one day to prevent reading difficulties altogether. We hope to develop brain-based neurocognitive training using the knowledge we gained. One example would be to give feedback of brain signal from the frontal language regions and train people to strengthen these brain regions. Acknowledgments We thank all participants and their families for their support. Past Funding Source: Richard King Mellon Foundation, National Institute of Mental Health (Grant MH029617), William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, BrightStar Inc., Power4Kids program, Haan Foundation for Children, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Heinz Endowments, Smith Richardson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Grable Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Ambrose Monell Foundation, Raymond Foundation, and Barksdale Reading Institute. Current Funding Source: Child Health Research Program (CHRP)
  4. 4. CIBSR at Stanford University 401 Quarry Road Stanford, CA 94305-5795 Phone: 650. 736.1874 Fax: 650. 724.4794 We’re on the Web! See us at: http://cibsr.stanford.edu How You Can Help Your Child In America today, 5-17% of school-aged children have dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability—80% of all learning disabilities diagnosed today. Because of this, many children get several grade levels behind in reading and their confidence levels of doing well in school drop. What these children need to know is that they are not a “lost cause.” They can improve with the right support and intervention. Intervention programs can help mitigate reading difficulties that go hand-in-hand with dyslexia. You can help in certain ways. Children with dyslexia can be victims of bullying in schools. They are made fun of for not being able to read. Because children are teased for their difficulties it is even more important to let them know how smart they truly are. One way is to encourage your child to keep reading and not to give up. Reading a book is not an overnight accomplishment, therefore it is important to start from the beginning and take small steps to help your child read. How Can I Help? We have recently launched a fund raising campaign to help us advance our research efforts. Prior donations have enabled us to: Obtain necessary equipment Offer better incentives to participants Increase our recruitment efforts If you wish to be part of our efforts and assist us, please join our campaign by making a gift today. You can call (650) 736-1874 Recent Publication from Our Program & References 1. Hoeft, F., Hernandez, A., McMillon, G., Taylor-Hill, H., Martindale, J.L., Meyler, A., Keller, T.A., Siok, W.T., Deutsch, G., Just, M.A., Gabrieli-Whitfield, S., and Gabrieli, J.D.E. Neural basis of dyslexia: a comparison between dyslexic children and non-dyslexic children equated for reading ability. J Neurosci 2006; 26(42): 10700-10708. 2. Gantman, A., Wittenberg, D., and Hoeft, F. Novel methods to predict outcome using neuroimaging [Review]. Psychiatric Times 2006; 13(10): 75-83. 3. Hoeft, F., Meyler, A., Hernandez, A., Juel, C., Taylor-Hill, H., Martindale, J.L., McMillon, G., Kolchugena, G., Black, J.M., Faizi, A., Deutsch, G.K., Siok, W.T., Reiss, A.L., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., and Gabrieli, J.D.E. Functional and morphometric brain dissociation between dyslexia and reading ability. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007;104(10):4234-4239. 4. Hoeft, F., Ueno, T., Reiss, A.L., Meyler, A., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Glover, G., Keller, T.A., Kobayashi, N., Mazaika, P., Jo, B., Just, M.A., and Gabrieli, J.D.E. Prediction of Children’s Reading Skills Using Behavioral, Functional And Structural Neuroimaging Measures. Beh Neurosci, in press. 5. Meyler, A., Keller, T.A., Cherkassky, V.L., Lee, D., Hoeft, F., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Gabrieli, J.D.E., and Just, M.A. Brain activation during sentence comprehension among good and poor readers. Cerebr Cortex, doi:10.1093/cercor/bhm006. In the Press Highfield, Roger. "Clue to Cause Dyslexia." Telegraph UK 20 Feb. 2007. Telegraph Newspaper. 20 Feb. 2007. 21 Feb. 2007 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2007/02/20/ ndyslexia20.xml Sturrock, Carrie, and John Gabrieli. "Playing Music Can Be Good for Your Brain: Stanford Study finds it Helps the Understanding of Language." SFGate 17 Nov. 2005. 21 Feb. 2007 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/11/17/MNGQ9FPODP1.DTL Newsletter designed and edited by: Sofia Hall-Gallagher