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Genetic Testing Topics..

You are here : home > Genetic Testing > Testing for Genetic Disorders > Genetic Testing for Dyslexia

Genetic Testing for Dyslexia

Though there is no concrete proof but there is an association between genes and dyslexia. With further research genetic testing will yield positive results for determining inherited capability of dyslexia. Dyslexia can be tested through neuro-imaging techniques such as static scans, volumetrics and functional imaging. Read on to know more about the testing for dyslexia.

Researchers working on the relation of diseases and family background have conducted a number studies that establish a string of correlation between genetic factors and dyslexia. These linkage studies identify a distinct association of the genes and dyslexia. Some studies say that it is chromosome 15 that needs to be focused on but there are other studies that do not agree with this proposition.

There are other studies that call for special attention on chromosome 6. It is believed that in near future with the progress of further extensive research, genetic testing will yield significantly effective results with regard to dyslexia. There is also a possibility that the diagnosis of the disease can be done as early as the third trimester of pregnancy through the chorionic villus sampling.

The Technique of Testing

Testing for dyslexia is done through neuro-imaging techniques. This is classified into following.

Static scans – Here the brain structure and myelin is assessed. According to the current research status, there is no abnormality in the structure or myelin that can be attributed to dyslexia.

Volumetrics – This technique measures the size of specific areas of the brain, like corpus callosum. There can be a symmetrical or asymmetrical pattern in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The study measures and identifies this degree in the two corresponding structures. Children or individuals with dyslexia tend have an atypical symmetrical cerebrum, but further research is required. 

Functional Imaging
– This is currently the most popular method in genetic testing for dyslexia. The technique comprises of a series of parts, viz.:

  • PET (positron emission tomography) scan
  • Functional MRI
  • EEG analysis (computer assisted)
  • Magnetoencephalography 

Earlier static snapshots of the brain images were taken by the researchers. Now it is a dynamic imaging process so that the working brain is better assessed. The changes in the activity levels in the brain are actually identified with the simultaneous alterations in the pattern and degree of blood flow and the metabolic functioning. The changes are recorded from various areas of the brain and the patterns are compared with the different mental tasks that are given to the child. There is a definite pattern observed in the dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers. 

Genetic Testing and Current Scenario

In all the above mentioned techniques, none are in the field of genetic testing. It is important to note here, it is only the altered behavioral pattern in comparison with other children that makes a dyslexic child stand out from his peers. By far this is a matter of close observation by the parents or the preschool teachers. It is only that the opinion of an expert is sought and the child is brought for screening.

The other associated tests that confirm whether the child is having dyslexia or is merely suffering from a simpler condition called delayed development or attention deficit disorder. In order to obtain reliable and concrete results genetic testing needs to go a long way. The actual relationship between the particular chromosome whether it is 15 or 6 with a dyslexic condition needs to be further studied in order to reach a definite conclusion. It is slated to be a breakthrough in medical science once this relation is established.

The earlier the condition of dyslexia is identified, the easier it is to chart out a course of treatment so that the child is enabled to adapt himself and brace up to deal with the world around him. Regular counseling and work out sessions are suggested with experts in order to ease out the learning disabilities and in the long run it greatly helps the child to outgrow his disabilities concerning cognitive problems.

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