Lay report on new publication: Moore, M. J., & Demeyere, N.. (2018). Neglect dyslexia as a word-centred impairment: a single case study. Cortex.
A report on a unique patient who misreads words by changing the endings
Some people develop very specific reading problems following a stroke. Neglect dyslexia is a reading impairment in which people misread letters presented on one side of individual words. For example, a patient with right neglect dyslexia might misread THOUGHT as “though” or ISLAND as “isles”. The purpose of this case study was to investigate whether neglect dyslexia is caused by general perception problems which affect one side of space, or whether it is a problem that is specific to reading.
Patient AB was diagnosed with a Transient Ischemic Attack (also sometimes referred to as mini-stroke). AB completed the Oxford Cognitive Screen and an original reading assessment. AB was found to make consistently lateralised errors when reading, demonstrating right neglect dyslexia (e.g. SHOWN misread as “show” or RELATED misread as “relate”) in the absence of any general visual problems or visuo-spatial inattention. AB continued to misread the last letters of words even when left/right spatial bias was avoided by presenting words vertically. Similarly, AB still misread the ends of words even when words were reflected so the originally right-sided letters were presented on the left side of space. AB didn’t make any lateralised errors when reading numbers and exhibited a different, non-lateralised error pattern when reading fake words. This investigation provides evidence that neglect dyslexia is not necessarily caused by general visual problems.
These findings are important because they help explain what constitutes neglect dyslexia. It also may mean that for some patients, strategies such as drawing attention to one side may not be effective, when the problem is at the conceptual level (the representation of the word as a whole). Better understanding of the mechanisms underlying these hidden difficulties after stroke is required to develop more effective and patient-centred rehabilitation strategies.