Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2011 --- 7:55 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Researchers say they've discovered that people with dyslexia have a hard time distinguishing words.
It's hoped the surprising discovery about the reading disorder can be used to spot at-risk youngsters even earlier.
Dyslexia is thought to affect 8 percent to 15 percent of Americans, who can have great difficulty reading and writing. It's not a problem with intelligence or vision. Instead, it's language-based.
Experts say the brain sometimes struggles with what's called "phonological processing." That means those with dyslexia have a hard time distinguishing and manipulating sounds, like "bah" and "pah," that eventually have to be linked to written letters and words.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher John Gabrieli hopes the surprising discovery can be used for better intervention. Gabrieli plans to begin testing 5-year-olds. He is senior author of a study published last week in the journal Science.
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