Dyslexia research at the turn of the 21st century: behavioural, neuroimaging and genetic findings

Agnieszka A. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioural studies have shown that dyslexics are a heterogeneous population and between-group comparisons are thus inadequate. Some subjects do not develop dyslexia despite having a deficit implicated in this disorder, which points to protective factors. Dyslexia co-occurs with ADHD, DCD, SLI, and SSD, so that future behavioural studies will need to screen and/or statistically control for other disorders. Studies of multiple cases of DPs with other developmental disorders are necessary. Neuroimaging findings show structural and/or functional brain abnormalities in language areas, V5/MT and the cerebellum. Future neuroimaging studies need to investigate the whole reading network and multiple cases. Six dyslexia risk genes have been found, mostly involved in neural migration, which may suggest dyslexia is a deficit of neuronal migration. However, it is not clear how these genes can restrict migration to specific brain areas. As a complex and heterogeneous disorder, dyslexia is likely to be associated with several mutated genes. ADHD and SSD are characterised by genetic risk factors which are partially shared with dyslexia, resulting in comorbidity. Future genetic studies need to focus on identifying other risk genes and pleiotropic genes involved in comorbidities, and linking genotypes implicated in dyslexia with brain structure. Any theory of dyslexia needs to take into account a multitude of risk and protective factors across behavioural, neural and genetic domains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1008234
Pages (from-to)163-191
Number of pages29
JournalActa Neuropsychologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2012


  • comorbidity
  • developmental dyslexia
  • dyslexia risk genes
  • neuroimaging
  • theories of developmental dyslexia


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