UW News

July 7, 1998

Young boys who are good readers needed for brain imaging study

Young boys who really will have something unusual to talk about when teachers ask “what did you do last summer?” are being sought by brain researchers at the University of Washington.

Boys, who just completed grades 3 through 6, are eligible to volunteer as subjects for a study investigating dyslexia. Those selected can describe what happened as their brains were imaged while they played sound and meaning games and listened to sound tones.

The study, being conducted by the UW’s Learning Disabilities Center, needs boys who learned how to read easily and are now very good readers. Center researchers have identified chemical differences in the brains of children who do and do not have severe reading problems, according to Ginger Berninger, professor of educational psychology and principal investigator of the center.

In addition to being good readers, eligible boys must be right handed and not wear braces. Participation involves coming to the university twice for one-hour sessions.
During this time, their brains will be imaged while they play the games and hear the sound tones. Parents can watch from behind a window and can see the brain images on a monitor. Parents and child are in constant communication through an intercom. The procedure is safe and non-invasive, says Berninger

For volunteering, every boy will get $25 for each imaging session, a color print of his brain and a University of Washington T-shirt with a picture of an imaged brain.

Parents interested in the study or those with questions should call Berninger at (206) 616-6372.

Dyslexia, which is a reading disorder, is the most common childhood disability and affects 10 percent to 15 percent of all children.
For more information, contact Berninger at (206) 616-6372 or vwb@u.washington.edu