Tag Archives: Education

Dyslexia

Definition:
Dyslexia comes from the Greek language meaning ‘difficulty with words’. It is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person’s fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, speak, and spell, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, and/or rapid naming. Dyslexia is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction. It is believed that dyslexia can affect between 5 to 10 percent of a given population although there have been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.

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There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia: auditory, visual and attentional. Although dyslexia is not an intellectual disability, it is considered both a learning disability and a reading disability. Dyslexia and IQ are not interrelated, since reading and cognition develop independently in individuals who have dyslexia.

Accomplished adult dyslexics may be able to read with good comprehension, but they tend to read more slowly than non-dyslexics, and may perform more poorly at nonsense word reading (a measure of phonological awareness), and spelling.

Dyslexia usually occurs in children with normal vision and normal intelligence. Children with dyslexia usually have normal speech, but may have difficulty interpreting spoken language and writing.

Dyslexia can go undetected in the early grades of schooling. The child can become frustrated by the difficulty in learning to read, and other problems can arise that disguise dyslexia. The child may show signs of depression and low self-esteem. Behavior problems at home as well as at school are frequently seen. The child may become unmotivated and develop a dislike for school. The child’s success in school may be jeopardized if the problem remains untreated.

Children with dyslexia need individualized tutoring, and treatment for dyslexia often involves a multisensory education program. Emotional support of your child on your part also plays an important role.

 

Symptoms:
The symptoms of dyslexia vary according to the severity of the disorder as well as the age of the individual.

Once your child is in school, dyslexia symptoms may become more apparent, including:

*Reading at a level well below the expected level for the age of your child
*Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
*Difficulty comprehending rapid instructions
*Trouble following more than one command at a time
*Problems remembering the sequence of things
*Difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words
*An inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
*Seeing letters or words in reverse (b for d or saw for was) — although seeing words or letters in reverse is common for children younger than 8 who don’t have dyslexia, children with dyslexia will continue to see reversals past that age
*Difficulty spelling
*Trouble learning a foreign language

Causes:
Dyslexia is caused by differences in the areas of the brain that deal with language, which aren’t yet fully understood.

Several areas in the brain interact in a complex way to coordinate the manipulation of words needed for reading, writing and spelling, so the features of any one person’s dyslexia will depend on which areas are affected and how.

There may be problems, for example, receiving sensory information through vision or hearing, holding it or structuring it in the brain, or retrieving it later, or there may be problems with the speed of processing information.

Brain-imaging scans show that when dyslexic people try to process information their brains work differently to those without dyslexia. This has nothing to do with intellect – people with dyslexia show a normal range of intelligence.

Inherited or genetic factors are important in dyslexia and other family members are often affected.

Complications:
Your child’s inability to read well may not affect achievement in other school subjects, such as arithmetic. However, because reading is a skill basic to most other school subjects, a child who has dyslexia is at a great disadvantage in most classes and may have trouble learning.

Left untreated, dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behavioral problems, anxiety, delinquency, aggression, and withdrawal or alienation from friends, parents and teachers. The degree to which these problems develop may relate to the severity of the condition.

Diagnosis:
Dyslexia diagnosis involves an evaluation of medical, cognitive, sensory-processing, educational and psychological factors. Your doctor may ask about your child’s developmental and medical history as well as your family medical history.

Doctor may also suggest that your child undergo:

*Vision, hearing and neurological evaluations. These evaluations can help determine whether another disorder may be causing or contributing to your child’s poor reading ability.

*A psychological assessment. This can help determine whether social problems, anxiety or depression may be limiting your child’s abilities.

*An evaluation of educational skills. Your child may take a set of educational tests and have the process and quality of his or her reading skills analyzed by an expert.

Treatment:
There is no cure for dyslexia, but dyslexic individuals can learn to read and write with appropriate educational support.

Especially for undergraduates, some consideration of what ‘reading’ is and what it is for can be useful. There are techniques (reading the first sentence [and/or last] of each paragraph in a chapter, for example) which can give an overview of content. This can be sufficient for some purposes. Since stress and anxiety are contributors to a dyslexic’s weaknesses in absorbing information, removing these can assist in improving understanding. When a dyslexic knows that not every reading experience must be onerous, it greatly helps their mental approach to the task.

The best approaches acknowledge that the objective in helping to improve a dyslexic’s ‘reading’ is not to ‘read-like-a-non-dyslexic-does’, but to find a way of extracting information from text that works efficiently for someone who processes such information differently from the majority.

For alphabet writing systems the fundamental aim is to increase a child’s awareness of correspondences between graphemes and phonemes, and to relate these to reading and spelling. It has been found that training focused towards visual language and orthographic issues yields longer-lasting gains than mere oral phonological training.

The best form of approach is determined by the underlying neurological cause(s) of the dyslexic symptoms.

Context sensitive spell checkers combined with text-to-speech systems offer forms of assistive technology to dyslexia users, supporting reading and writing.

Recent research suggests that adaptive working memory training using a program called Jungle Memory was effective in boosting IQ, working memory, and literacy scores in students with dyslexia.

Fast ForWord software, which works on auditory processing, working memory and other aspects of dyslexia has also been successful in helping dyslexia.

Other approaches can help, too. In cases linked to visual differences, coloured overlays and lenses can lead to improvement because they may stop the letters from ‘dancing on the page’ (a common complaint).

Coping and support:-
Emotional support and opportunities for achievement in activities that don’t involve reading are important for children with dyslexia.

If your child has dyslexia:

*Be supportive. Having difficulty learning to read may affect your child’s self-esteem. Be sure to provide love and to support his or her talents and strengths.

*Talk to your child. Explain to your child what dyslexia is and that it’s not a failure on his or her part. The better your child understands this, the more likely he or she will cope with and compensate for this learning disability.

*Take steps at home to make it easier for your child to study. Provide a clean, quiet, organized place for your child to study, and designate a study time. Also, make sure your child gets enough rest, good nutrition and family support — through outings and activities — to provide a better environment in which he or she can learn.

*Work with your child’s school. Talk with teachers frequently to make sure your child is able to stay on track. Be sure your child gets extra time for tests that require reading, if needed. Ask your child’s teacher if it would help your child to record the day’s lessons to playback later. If available, tutoring sessions with a reading-disorders specialist can be very helpful for many children with dyslexia.

You may also want to consider joining a support group to stay in contact with parents who face similar learning disabilities in their children. Belonging to a support group can provide you with both good information and emotional support. Check with your doctor or your child’s reading specialist to find out if there are any support groups in your area.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/dyslexia2.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexia
http://www.medicinenet.com/dyslexia/article.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dyslexia/DS00224

http://www.readinghorizons.com/research/dyslexia/information.aspx

http://www.causesdyslexia.net/dyslexia-biological-cause/

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Learn Music, Get Smart

Training in music while still young effects changes in the brain that enhance one’s speech and sound abilities.
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Practitioners of music therapy, like most members of the listening public, vouch for the healing qualities of music. Music soothes a stressed mind, elevates the soul, and helps cope with illnesses. What if it also improves intelligence? Can we say that learning the violin or piano would make you smarter? We could debate the meaning of “intelligence”, but many neuroscientists and psychologists are now beginning to answer the question in the affirmative.

In a review paper published last week in Nature, Nina Kraus and Bharath Chandrasekaran, both of the School of Communication at Northwestern University near Chicago, claim that training in music changes the brain significantly. And that these changes would help specifically in skills like speech processing, and generally in many areas that involve the processing of sound. Musicians get better at remembering things, have better motor skills, and can also pay attention better in a sea of noise. “Music training improves auditory skills that are not exclusively related to music,” write the authors.

Music is a sophisticated art form that invokes several skills even to listen. From an auditory point of view, it has three aspects: pitch, timing and timbre. Timing is at the heart of rhythm, and timbre is involved in the quality of sound. At a deeper level, it involves a complex organisation of sound. Great musicians and highly sophisticated listeners, particularly of classical music, would often point to deep cultural facets as well.

Learning music would call into play basic skills as well higher cognitive abilities. Musical training is a complex task that involves several brain areas. At a basic level, it requires the ability to identify pitch, the frequency of a note. Even the most basic learner needs to tune the instrument first. This isn’t easy, and many people simply can’t identify the pitch of a note easily, no matter how hard they try. Good musicians need to have a great sense of timing. They also need to distinguish timbre, which actually conveys the richness of sound (while pitch is the basic frequency, timbre is the fine structure of a note). The ability to identify these three basic features needs considerable training.

A long history of training in music shows up in the brain structure. The brains of musicians show more grey matter in areas that are important for playing a specific instrument. In physiological terms, this change results in increased activation of neurons (brain cells) when exposed to sound. For example, the strength of activation when exposed to the sound of an instrument depends on the length of training on that instrument. What this shows, and Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue, is that the changes were acquired through training and are not innate differences in the brain.

Areas in the brain that get developed through musical training are involved in at least three faculties: sound processing, visual processing and motor control. This is why learning to perform music is different from listening, no matter how deep. “Listening to music does not involve motor control,” says Vinod Menon, professor at the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, Stanford University. Menon’s lab studies, among other things, show the brain processes music and also the similarities and differences between music and speech processing in the brain.

Language and music seem to be two different subjects, but there are many similarities between them. At a fundamental level, both involve the processing of sound. Some of the finer skills that musicians have are transferred easily to the processing of speech, which also uses attributes like pitch and timbre to convey information. “Musicians would be able to detect easily fine distinctions in speech like irony or sarcasm,” says T.S. Sridhar, professor of molecular medicine at St Johns Medical College, Bangalore. Sridhar has experience of working in auditory physiology.

This skill could translate to being able to identify emotions in speech much better than in the case of non-musicians. Musical training uses a high working memory, an ability that is extremely useful in language. It also involves paying close attention to sound, which also translates to a skill in language: the ability to listen carefully to a stream of sound amidst a sea of noise. Many experiments have shown that neurons in the brains of musicians indeed show a higher response when exposed to the sound of language when compared to non-musicians.

Since the strength of such response is dependent on the length of training, it always helps to start early. Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue that seven years is the best age to start. This in turn raises another question: can one get the benefits of musical training — in terms of translatable skills — when training in later life? Says Kraus, who is Hugh Knowles Professor of communication sciences, neurobiology and physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University, “There is evidence that the nervous system, and in particular the auditory system, continues to change throughout the life times of human and non-human animals. An important area for future research is to determine specifically the effects of musical experience — begun later in life — on the nervous system.”

So performers, play on, be it for your brain or your heart. As a commentary on the Nature article argues, music could be taught and learned for its own sake and not merely to improve the brain.

Source The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Talk Deeply & Be Happy

Would you be happier if you spent more time discussing the state of the world and the meaning of life — and less time talking about the weather?

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Deep conversations made people happier than small talk, one study found.
It may sound counterintuitive, but people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier, said Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject.

“We found this so interesting, because it could have gone the other way — it could have been, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ — as long as you surf on the shallow level of life you’re happy, and if you go into the existential depths you’ll be unhappy,” Dr. Mehl said.

But, he proposed, substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.

“By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world,” Dr. Mehl said. “And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness.”

Dr. Mehl’s study was small and doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the kind of conversations one has and one’s happiness. But that’s the planned next step, when he will ask people to increase the number of substantive conversations they have each day and cut back on small talk, and vice versa.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involved 79 college students — 32 men and 47 women — who agreed to wear an electronically activated recorder with a microphone on their lapel that recorded 30-second snippets of conversation every 12.5 minutes for four days, creating what Dr. Mehl called “an acoustic diary of their day.”

Researchers then went through the tapes and classified the conversation snippets as either small talk about the weather or having watched a TV show, and more substantive talk about current affairs, philosophy, the difference between Baptists and Catholics or the role of education. A conversation about a TV show wasn’t always considered small talk; it could be categorized as substantive if the speakers analyzed the characters and their motivations, for example.

Many conversations were more practical and did not fit in either category, including questions about homework or who was taking out the trash, for example, Dr. Mehl said. Over all, about a third of all conversation was ranked as substantive, and about a fifth consisted of small talk.

But the happiest person in the study, based on self-reports about satisfaction with life and other happiness measures as well as reports from people who knew the subject, had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest, Dr. Mehl said. Almost every other conversation the happiest person had — 45.9 percent of the day’s conversations — were substantive, while only 21.8 percent of the unhappiest person’s conversations were substantive.

Small talk made up only 10 percent of the happiest person’s conversations, while it made up almost three times as much –- or 28.3 percent –- of the unhappiest person’s conversations.

Next, Dr. Mehl wants to see if people can actually make themselves happier by having more substantive conversations.

“It’s not that easy, like taking a pill once a day,” Dr. Mehl said. “But this has always intrigued me. Can we make people happier, by asking them, for the next five days, to have one extra substantive conversation every day?”

Source: The New York Times. (Health, March 17,2010)

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Men Married to Smart Women Live Longer

A study has determined that for men, long life and good health have nothing to do with the man’s education and everything to do with his wife’s. Men married to smart women live longer.

………………………man married smart woman
The effect may relate to skill at processing advice about healthy lifestyles, and passing it on — educated married women are more likely to share their good lifestyle habits.

These habits could include healthy food choice, exercise routines, and risk-avoidance.

Resources:
Times Online October 18, 2009
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health December 2009; 63(12):992-8

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Teeth Implantation

X-Ray picture of two cylindrical dental implan...

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Introduction:
Until a few decades back when natural tooth was lost, it was replaced by a removable partial Denture, or a fixed prosthesis, Each of these treatment options had their own disadvantages, With the advancement of technology and research, dentistry today has a better option for the replacement of a natural tooth – with dental implants. Dental implant is an artificial substitute to replace the root portion of teeth and put into the bone and gums of mouth. Replacement teeth are then fixed on to these new roots.Dental Implants are a Functional and Desirable Alternative to Conventional Bridges and Dentures . Dental implants allow people who are with missing teeth to be able to smile, speak and chew well and comfortably.
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What is Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small man-made titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and allowed to bond with the bone and serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implant supported replacement teeth look, feel and if you’re missing a tooth or more, you may find that there are other things you miss. You may miss your natural smile. You may miss the ability to chew apples, crackers and other food you desire. Maybe you feel self-conscious about your teeth and mouth, or discomfort as remaining teeth shift. And perhaps you’ve experienced muscle strains, an inability to speak clearly, headaches or unease in familiar situations at work, with friends or at home…..

How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants act as artificial roots. They are surgically placed into your jaw, and are the closest substitute to natural teeth in form and function. Once a dental implant is firmly integrated into your jaw, it can be used to support single crowns, bridges and dentures. Whether you are missing one tooth, several teeth or all of your teeth, dental implants may be an option for you.

*Surgical Options

* Restorative Options

* Before & After

Types of Implants :
There are three types of implants :

1. Endosseous Implant : These implants are usually shaped like a screw or cylinder. They are placed within the jaw bone.
2. Subperiosteal Implants : These Implants consist of mental frame work that attaches on top of the jaw bone but underneath the gum tissue.
3. Transosteal Implant : These implants are either a metal pin or a U – shaped frame that passes through the jaw bone and the gum tissue, in to the mouth.
Implants are made from metals and alloys such as Titanium, Titanium-Aluminium-V alloy, Chromium-cobalt-mobedium alloy, ceramics.

Advantage of Implant over traditional prosthesis:
The goal of modern dentistry is to return patientas to oral health in a predictable fashion. The partial and complete edentulous patient may be unable to recover normal function, esthetics, comfort, or speech with a traditional removable prosthesis.

The patient’s function when wearing a denture may be reduced to 60% compared with that formerly experienced with natural dentition, however, an implant prosthesis may return the function to near normal limits. The esthetics of the edentulous patient also is affected because of bone atrophy continued resorption leads to irreversible facial changes. An implant stimulates the bone and  iMPLANTmaintains its dimension in a manner similar to healthy natural teeth. As a result, the facial features are not compromised by lack of support. In addition, implant supported restorations are positioned in relation to esthetics, function and speech, not in neutral zones of soft tissue support. The soft tissues of the edentulous patient are tender form the effects of thinning mucosa decreased salivary flow, and unstable or unretentive prosthesis.

The implant retained restoration does not require soft tissue support and improves oral comfort. Speech and function are compromised with prostheses form the supporting structures during use. The tongue and peri-oral musculature may be compromised to limit the movement of the mandibular prosthesis. The implant prosthesis is stable and retentive without the efforts of the musculature.

Resources:
http://www.whereincity.com/medical/topic/dental-health/articles/763.htm
http://www.dentalimplantthailand.net/

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