New Study Finds Potential Genetic Causes for Dyslexia

The knowledge base on dyslexia is always expanding. Around 40 million Americans are thought to be affected by the learning problem, which sadly cannot be treated with medication. There is, nevertheless, hope for early detection. According to a recent study, dyslexia has 42 genetic causes, which may make it simpler to identify those who are predisposed to the illness.

The study is the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) that has been done to date and was published in Nature Genetics. Genome-wide association studies search for genetic changes linked to a certain disease—in this case, dyslexia—by scanning markers across the genomes, or the whole set of DNA, of many people.

51,000 of the 1.1 million people in the research, most of European descent, reported having received a dyslexia diagnosis. To identify any differences linked to a specific trait or illness, the study scanned genetic markers throughout the subjects’ entire sets of DNA. Even though this study was broad and involved a sizable population, the majority of the participants were of European descent, therefore these results might not apply as well to other populations.

42 genetic variations were found by the researchers that tended to be different between persons with and without dyslexia. The findings imply that a person’s likelihood of developing dyslexia increased with the number of these mutations they possessed. Of these mutations, 27 were new and maybe more specific to dyslexia, and 15 were in genes associated with cognitive performance and educational success.

Reading and writing are essential life skills that, if given additional difficulties, can alter a person’s trajectory in life. According to the report, dyslexia affects roughly one in ten children and persists into adulthood. Although just a few genetic markers have been identified, researchers highlight that family studies with dyslexia imply a genetic component, inherited up to 70%.

Dyslexia “is a disease of letter or symbol interpretation,” according to Amit Sachdev, M.D., Michigan State University’s medical director for neurology. He continues by saying that dyslexia frequently shows up in reading proficiency.

Is dyslexia hereditary?

According to Dr. Sachdev, dyslexia has always been linked to “a strong hereditary component.”

According to Dr. Sachdev, identifying the origin of a disease is the first step in treating it. It is not unexpected that dyslexia is linked to multiple genes… The key question, he argues, is which genes are the main ones. People who are currently experiencing dyslexia should be heartened that there is interest in and work being done to learn about the disorder, according to those who are currently dealing with it.

But a remedy is lacking. According to Dr. Sachdev, “brain growth is complex, and the brain depends on quick communication between parts to carry out many operations.” He says it is not strange that people who learn in various ways may do it in different ways.

Dr. Sachdev argues that it is preferable to treat these learning disorders as learning styles that may be accommodated, possibly with the use of additional aids, rather than as diseases that need to be fixed.

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The conclusion

In terms of the future of dyslexia research, more research is undoubtedly required to fully comprehend how all of these genes connected to dyslexia function and how to manage them.

A gene expresses a protein, says Dr. Sachdev, therefore “we need to identify which proteins are not expressed and consider whether an intervention may be made. We also need to think about if we need to plan an intervention.

Researchers are optimistic that these results could eventually lead to a genetic test that identifies kids who are predisposed to have dyslexia, which could allow for interventions that lessen the development of reading and writing challenges for all kids, even though much more research is needed in this area.

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