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Can Brain Scans of Young Children Predict Reading Problems?

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最新研究:利用腦部斷層掃描找出閱讀困難症孩童   


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Can Brain Scans of Young Children Predict Reading Problems?

最新研究:利用腦部斷層掃描找出閱讀困難症孩童

08 February 2012

 

Dyslexia is a problem that interferes with the ability to recognize words and connect sounds with letters when people read. People with this learning disorder may also have problems when they write. Dyslexia is not related to eyesight or intelligence. The problem involves areas of the brain that process language.

Brain scientists are studying whether they can predict which young children may struggle with reading, in order to provide early help. John Gabrieli at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is leading a study of five-year-olds in about twenty schools in the Boston area.

JOHN GABRIELI: "We partner with schools that have kindergartens.  And in this study what we do is, for all the children whose parents permit them to participate, we give them a brief set of paper-and-pencil tests to look at which children appear to be at some risk for struggling to read."

So far, fifty of the kindergarteners have been examined in a machine that shows brain activity. The goal is to study five hundred children using fMRI, or functional magnetic resonance imaging. The scanner uses a high-energy magnetic field and radio waves to "look" inside the body.

Written tests are not always able to identify dyslexia or other problems. Professor Gabrieli says children can differ a lot in their abilities from day to day. He says brain scans may offer a more scientific way to identify problems. And with reading problems, he says, early identification is important.

JOHN GABRIELI: "All the literature is that for intervention, behavioral programs, educational programs that help children overcome reading difficulties, the younger the child, the more effective they are."

Reading problems are not usually identified until a child is in the third or fourth grade. The longer the wait before children are recognized as poor readers, he says, the less these interventions can help. And, as Professor Gabrieli points out, poor reading can make education a struggle.

JOHN GABRIELI: "Reading is – everything. Even math and science have textbooks."

During the brain imaging, the children are given tasks related to reading. They work with letters and sounds of language. The brain scans measure the extent to which certain parts of the brain become active while the children do the work. The neuroscientists say they are pleased with early results from the study, but have a lot more work to do.

The children get to take home the pictures of their brain in action. Professor Gabrieli says children who do not want to have a brain scan do not have to.

JOHN GABRIELI: "I can tell you that the ones who do want to do it have an excellent experience. Almost all, the vast majority, ask when they can do it again. We treat the entire experience as a game. When they go into the scanner, we tell them it is like going into a space rocket."

 

I. Read the news article above and judge whether the following statements are true or false. Write T for True and F for False.

 

1. _____ Dyslexia is a reading disorder, so children with dyslexia have problems in reading rather than writing.

2. _____ Dyslexia can been seen as the result of malfunction in the brain.

3. _____ Gabrieli conducted a study to find out the most effective approach to cure dyslexia.

4. _____ There are a few programs provided for children with dyslexia to overcome reading difficulty.

5. _____ It is hard to detect reading problems earlier than three years old.

6. _____ Gabrieli’s research has produced positive results, as they expected.

7. _____ Most children who participated in the study felt uneasy before having brain scans.

 

II. Complete the following summary with vocabulary in the box according to the news article above.

identification

predict

extent

leads

scans

written

active

with

identify

offer

 

In order to __1.__ which young children may struggle __2.__ reading, professor John Gabrieli __3.__ a study in about twenty schools in the Boston area. Children participating in the study are required to take __4.__ tests and receive brain __5.__ at the same time. According to Professor John Gabrieli, their study results may __6.__ a more scientific way to __7.__ problems. The brain scans measure the __8.__ to which certain parts of the brain become __9.__ while the children do the work. He also indicates that early __10.__ of the reading problems is important. Therefore, children should be provided with early help once they are diagnosed with reading problems.

 

Ans:

I. 1. F 2. T 3. F 4. T 5. T 6. T 7. F

II. 1. predict 2. with 3. leads 4. written 5. scans

 6. offer 7. identify 8. extent 9. active 10. identification

 

Source:http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/education/Can-Brain-Scans-of-Young-Children-Predict-Reading-Problems-138966334.html

 
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