06/2018: Dyslexia (J. Stein)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 21 June 2018 from 19:00 for 19:30

New Location: King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Wobbles, warbles and fish – the ‘magnocellular’ theory of developmental dyslexia

Learning to read is more difficult than learning to speak because it requires very rapid visual analysis of letters and their order, together with rapidly translating them into the phonemes of which word sounds are composed, and this background ‘phonological’ skill also has to be learnt.  The difficulties that developmental dyslexics have with acquiring these skills may be caused by abnormal development of large, ‘magnocellular’, nerve cells in the brain; these mediate the deployment of visual, auditory and motor attention which underlies the visual, eye movement and auditory sequencing skills required for reading.  The magnocellular hypothesis suggests that the many different visual/orthographic, auditory/phonological, articulatory/motor features of dyslexia may be due to impaired development of these magnocellular neurones throughout the brain. The talk will be about the mounting evidence in favour of this hypothesis together with how recent genetic, molecular and nutritional findings shed light on why these brain anomalies occur and how they can be alleviated.

Speaker: John Stein

John is Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, Dept. Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.  After medical studies at New College, Oxford, he trained as a clinical neurologist.   From 1970 – 2008 he was Fellow and Tutor in Medicine and Physiological Sciences at Magdalen.  In theory ‘retired’ he still teaches neuroscience to medical and psychology students and his research still focuses on the role of vision and nutrition in the control of movement and behaviour in neurological patients, dyslexics and young offenders.  John doesn’t cook fish; his brother TV fish chef, Rick Stein, doesn’t do neuroscience!

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