Dyslexia is a brain-based disorder that has been intensively studied in the Western world for more than a century because of its social burden. However, affected individuals in Chinese communities are neither recognized nor formally diagnosed. Previous studies have concentrated on the disadvantages of reading deficits, and few have addressed non-linguistic skills, which are included in the symptoms. In addition, certain dyslexics possess visual spatial talents that have usually been ignored. In this review, we discuss the available information regarding brain imaging studies of dyslexia based on studies in Caucasian subjects. Gray matter deficits have been demonstrated in dyslexics using structural magnetic resonance imaging. Reduced neural activities in the left temporal and left parietal cortices, and diffuse widespread activation patterns in the cerebellum could be detected using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Changes in lactate levels, N-acetylaspartate/choline-containing compounds and N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios, and phosphomonoester peak area were detected in magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies. Lower fractional anisotropy values in bilateral white matter tracts have been demonstrated by diffusion tensor imaging. Abnormal Broca's area activation was found using positron emission tomography imaging. Increased activities in the right frontal and temporal brain regions were detected using electroencephalography. Reduced hemispheric asymmetry and increased left inferior frontal activation were reported following magnetoencephalography. Although these imaging modalities are not currently diagnostic or prognostic, they are able to provide information on the causes of dyslexia beyond what was previously provided by behavioral or cognition studies.
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