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BrisScience today

April 30th, 2007

The latest in the popular BrisScience lecture series is tonight at the Town Hall, on the topic Windows to the Brain. Details over the fold.

WINDOWS TO THE BRAIN

6:30-7:30pm: Dr Kristen Pammer – “Windows to the Brain”
Ithaca Room, City Hall
Free

There will be a refreshments after the talk, and Kristen will be
available to answer questions.

Please forward on this announcement to friends and colleagues. For
further information or to subscribe to the mailing list, have a look
at www.BrisScience.org or contact Joel Gilmore (0411 267 044,
[email protected]). Looking forward to seeing you on the night!

***********

WINDOWS TO THE BRAIN – Kristen Pammer

The human brain, which controls every single aspect of who we are, has
approximately 60 trillion connections. Now, for the first time, we
have the technology to see the brain as we think, allowing us to begin
to understand how and why we behave the way we do.

Dr Kristen Pammer will show how new brain imaging techniques are
helping to understand dyslexia: how poor visual processing might make
it difficult to read. She will also discuss synaesthesia, where a
person makes unusual sensory combinations such as associating colours,
shapes or tastes with sounds, letters or numbers. Seeing how the
brain works can gives us some new understanding of how and why the
brain makes these unusual connections in some people.

***********

Dr Kristen Pammer is a researcher in the School of Psychology at The
Australian National University. She works with dyslexic children and
their parents, and she has also travelled the world working at leading
neuroscience institutes in Japan, Finland, and England. Now that
Australia’s first Magnetoencephalographic neuroimaging system has been
completed, however, she plans to put an end to her globe trotting.

DATE: Monday April 30

TIME: 6:30pm to 7:30pm (doors open at 6:00pm); complimentary wine,
soft drinks, and nibblies served after the talk

VENUE: Ithaca Room, City Hall, Brisbane City

This free talk is open to all and there is no need to book.

For further information, have a look at www.BrisScience.org. Don’t
hesitate to contact me (0411 267 044, [email protected]) with any
questions.

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  1. conrad
    April 30th, 2007 at 13:24 | #1

    The only place in the world where a reasonable proportion of people think that dyslexia is caused by poor visual processing is Australia. I’ve no idea why. Its amazing what you can convince people of when you show them a picture of the brain — even when evidence as high as the highest mountain points to the contrary.

  2. jquiggin
    April 30th, 2007 at 13:38 | #2

    I must admit to being almost totally ignorant on this topic. I vaguely recall something in Scientific American arguing that dyslexia is massively overdiagnosed, to the point of making the concept useless, but i could be wrong about that. I just looked at Wikipedia which favors deficits in phonological awareness, but gives nods to visual processing at various points. Is there a good summary somewhere?

  3. conrad
    April 30th, 2007 at 15:17 | #3

    I’m not aware of any non-biased summary. However, the way everything should be (and is) moving is here:

    http://www.ehess.fr/centres/lscp/persons/ramus/nature01.pdf

    or for something most people probably wouldn’t want to read, a good study from the same authors with adult dyslexics is here:

    http://www.ehess.fr/centres/lscp/persons/ramus/dyslexia02/dyslexia02web.pdf

    Basically, these articles show that you can get multiple different types of deficits in a population (which of course shouldn’t be surpising, since reading is a multi-component skill). The most common is a phonological one, although its hard to define in itself. There are piles of articles criticizing a lot of the old work that just looked at studies that examined one type of deficit only (which was strangley enough, the majority of studies). These single deficit studies are also unfortunatley where most of the evidence for “visual problems” being common comes from.

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